Marking a boon to the continuing education industry of Sarasota County, Manatee County, and the greater region, Ringling College of Art and Design and the Lifelong Learning Academy of Sarasota (LLA) have reached an agreement to merge effective June 1, 2016. Under the agreement, the Lifelong Learning Academy (LLA) will become the Ringling College Lifelong Learning Academy (RCLLA) and be incorporated into Ringling College’s Continuing Studies and Special Programs (CSSP), a unit of the College’s Office of Academic Affairs. The current Executive Director of LLA will assume the role of Director of RCLLA.
The Lifelong Learning Academy is currently housed at University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and will continue to offer classes there until the June transition. The merger was precipitated by the Academy’s need for more space because its programs have expanded; USF Sarasota-Manatee, on the other hand, needs more classrooms to accommodate its incoming freshmen and sophomore classes. Ultimately, the RCLLA will be headquartered and most classes taught at the Historic Sarasota High School currently under renovation.