In need of more space and resources for its expanding student body, the adult education organization will be housed in the Historic Sarasota High School.
| 9:15 a.m. December 9, 2015
Arts + Culture
For the last 17 years, the independent non-profit Lifelong Learning Academy has been operating on the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus. But now, the year-long adult education hub will merge its 2,000-strong student body of adults and retirees and courses in visual art, dance, history, psychology, economics, science and literature into another educational institution also experiencing rapid growth: the Ringling College of Art and Design.
Effective on June 1, the Lifelong Learning Academy will become a part of Ringling College's Continuing Studies and Special Programs, a unit of the college's Office of Academic Affairs. Due to both the Academy and USF Sarasota-Manatee's need for more classroom space for their respective growing student bodies, school officials decided to team up with Ringling College, who has been acquiring and creating new buildings on its campus for the past few years.
Once it's been completely refurbished and restored, the the Academy's new home will be inside the Historic Sarasota High School, which will also house the new Sarasota Museum of Art.
"We are extremely excited to have the Lifelong Learning Academy become part of Ringling College of Art and Design,” says Larry R. Thompson, president of Ringling College. “As we have always indicated, the historic high school will house the Museum of Art on one floor of the building, but the other two floors will be allocated for continuing education. This merger allows the college to move forward with the excellent programming of the the Academy from the moment the renovation of the high school is completed in 2017."
The Academy is currently operated by three full-time and two part-time temporary staff members, which has had to process over 5,000 class registrations all in the last academic year.
“This is an exciting time for the Lifelong Learning Academy as we join Ringling College to better meet the demands of our growing student body,” says Janna Overstreet, executive director of the Lifelong Learning Academy. “This partnership will enable us to operate in classroom spaces that are specifically created for lifelong learning, in addition to exposing our students to options for creative courses in art and design.”