University of Florida to hold classes in Sarasota

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SARASOTA, Fla. - Don't be surprised to start hearing more talk about the University of Florida around downtown Sarasota. That's because UF will open a satellite facility for its Graduate School of Architecture.

The college worked out a deal with Sarasota County to renovate a building on Orange Avenue just south of Ringling, in the shadow of the county's own administration building.

Chances are you have driven by the building and not thought twice about it.  It's a Sarasota County building, primarily used for mail and printing.  But by next fall, it will be a satellite campus for the University of Florida's School of Architecture.

"I think you can go to Ringling or New College, get your 4-year degree, and then go to University of Florida's Master of Architecture school, and in 2-3 years get your Masters Degree," said Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta.

He says about 14 students will begin taking classes next year, and that'll eventually grow to 50.  It will be known as City Lab Sarasota.

The University's only other satellite campus for architecture is City Lab Orlando, which opened last year.

Sarasota County will lease this building to the University of Florida.

Other architects in the area are excited about this project.  Sabrina Stanley has been an architect in Sarasota for nearly 6 years. She's looking forward to having the students in town.  "It's exciting to have young people learn architecture, and that young vibe that will come to this street and come to this town.  It's just really exciting," Stanley said.

Barbetta describes UF as 'The Big Kahuna' of Florida colleges. "The University of Florida having a presence here, a lot of Gator graduates living here so I think it's big for the community."

The Center for Architecture Sarasota plans to raise $150,000 to renovate the 53-year old building.