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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Tuesday, Sep. 1, 2015 3 years ago

Ringling College surpasses $16 million fundraising goal for new library a year early.

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The Ringling College of Art and Design raised $16.9 million in two years toward the new 48,000 square foot art and multimedia library.
by: Nick Reichert Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Ringling College of Art and Design is in the middle of a transformation. With ongoing construction projects on the new Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA and a new film and television soundstage, Sarasota's resident art college is in the middle of a fundraising frenzy. Fortunately, Ringling College has met the fundraising goal of one those expansion projects, a new college library, an entire year earlier then projected. 

The Ringling College along with support from the Ringling College Library Association and numerous community donors raised $16.9 million for the new 48,000 square foot, three-story library an entire year before the campaign's three-year, $16 million deadline. Having finished raising the funds a year earlier than planned, the library will open a year earlier as well, which is now scheduled to open in August 2016 in time for next year's fall semester. 

"There were a lot of high fives going around when we found out we met our goal," says Larry R. Thompson, president of Ringling College of Art and Design. "We were ecstatic with the community's response and most of the money raised came from members of the community. They had an understanding the needs of our students and wanting to help them have this kind of resource for their four years in Sarasota."

By raising the $16 million goal a year earlier then projected, the new library is now schedule to open a year earlier in August 2016.

And it will be an in-demand resource. The current library, the Kimbrough Library, is only a 12,000 square foot facility that couldn't even hold the college's complete book and media collection. 40% of the collection was stored off-campus. But now with the larger library (which has secured naming rights to be released at a future date), students will have access to the complete Ringling College collection inside as well as a high-tech collaboration space and lobby, a café, 15 group study and meeting rooms, two classrooms, a special collections room and an academic resource center for struggling students who need tutoring and English as a second language courses. 

"It's a great relief to know we've met our goal in time," says Stacey Corley, interim vice president of advancement at Ringling College. "It was a lot of work and a lot of people put their time and effort into it. They knew we needed this resource to be improved, not only for the students but for the community who we hope will use it as a resource for art research."

Next summer all the books, magazines, DVDs and other media will be moved from the old Kimbrough Library and into the new facility. Thompson and Corley say that the Kimbrough Library space will be repurposed. But for now, all eyes are on the patch of ground on the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and Old Bradenton Road. 

"The architectural plans are all finished," says Thompson. "The construction drawings have all been completed. They've already put in around 250 footings. It's a complex construction and it'll take the full year to build a structure that size and complexity. It's the library of the future."

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