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Fruitville Elementary celebrates new chapter with ribbon cutting

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Fruitville ribbon cut 8-10-16Fruitville new classroom Aug 2016Fruitville new bldg hallway Aug 2016

FRUITVILLE ELEMENTARY: In top photo, Superintendent Lori White cuts the ribbon on a new classroom building, the centerpiece of the school's expanded facilities. Middle and bottom photos: A classroom and hallway in the new building.

SARASOTA, Aug. 4, 2016 – Sarasota County School District officials will cut the ribbon on a much-anticipated expansion of Sarasota’s historic Fruitville Elementary School at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 10. The additions and improvements include a new, centrally located, two-story, 30,000-square-foot, 18-classroom building; interior renovations in two existing buildings; a new covered play area and an expanded bus loop for dropping off and picking up students.

The first floor of the new building was designed to serve the school’s program for children with autism. Classes for those students had been held mostly in portable buildings for several years; all but one portable has been removed from the campus. The second floor of the new building houses classrooms for second- and third-grade students.

Improvements to the school, including design, site work, construction, furniture, fixtures and equipment, were made at a cost of $7.65 million. The team included Sweet Sparkman Architects and Jon F. Swift Construction. Ernie DuBose was the school district’s project manager.

“We’re thrilled to have a dedicated space that was designed for our students with autism,” said Principal Dusty French. “The large, open spaces have big windows that let in lots of light. In addition, our bus loop has about doubled in size, which will make student arrivals and departures much more efficient. We’re also making improvements to our parking lot. We’re thrilled with the changes and we’re sure our students and parents will be excited, too.”

The Aug. 10 celebration will include tours of the new building, a celebration with refreshments and the launch of the school’s theme for the year, “Building on Our Past to Grow Our Future.”

The year 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the school’s 1941 opening at its current and fifth location. The school building that was completed that year was constructed with funding from the federal Works Progress Administration; it still houses the administration office. The school traces its origins all the way back to the 1880s, when its forerunner was established by Sarasota pioneers Charles and Martha Tatum Reaves.

“Our school has a storied past and a boundless future,” said French. “We like to call it ‘a local treasure.’ We invite the entire community to come celebrate with us, as we cut the ribbon to usher in the next chapter of Fruitville’s rich history.”

Fruitville Elementary School is located at 601 Honore Ave., Sarasota. 

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