The long-running battle to save Paul Rudolph’s Riverview High School in Sarasota, Florida, is fast approaching what may be its final stand. On June 17, the Sarasota County School Board is set to decide the fate of the 1958 school, Rudolph’s largest Florida commission and a widely admired work by the well-known modern architect.
School authorities, which are spending $135 million to build a new high school on the 42-acre campus, have long wanted to demolish the structure to make way for a parking lot. In short, despite an outpouring of sympathy from Rudolph fans—and the school’s listing on the by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates—the nation’s building boom has put Rudolph’s lesser-known works in peril, Prudon said. “He’s very much in everybody’s mind, but somehow the outcome of all of that has not been very happy.”
Donations can be forwarded via the Sarasota Architectural Foundation. However, pledges larger than $2,000 should be faxed to the attention of Craig P. Colburn of Kirk Pinkerton, 50 Central Avenue, Suite 700, Sarasota, FL 34236 (fax 941-364-2490; tel. 941-364-2400).
Update June 18 and 19:
Dealing a setback to Rudolph supporters, the Sarasota County School Board has voted 3-2 to raze the Riverview High School, contending that preservationists could not come up with enough funding for their alternative plan.
"The time to show me the money was today," said board member Shirley Brown, according to a Herald-Tribune report. "I’m sorry."
Despite raising $100,000 in pledges, advocates could not persuade board members to continue working toward the building’s salvation. Fearing that the project cost of $15 to $25 million would never be raised, board members pulled the plug after a four-hour-long meeting, refusing to put taxpayer funds toward preservation.
Backers of the Rudolph plan, however, said that they are still fundraising and exploring alternatives, including a review of legal options. Suttle said that students will remain in the Rudolph building for another year, postponing any imminent demolition and giving advocates time to regroup. "Let’s just say it’s not over," she said.