BRADENTON — The Paul F. Davis Building is the dowager of Manatee High School, a historic structure from 1926 whose days are numbered.
But before its scheduled demolition in January, there will be a celebration in its honor.
That bash, “The Davis Building — A Final Tribute: An Evening Under The Stars,” is from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday.
The event will be held along 32nd Street West, between the Hawkins Stadium football complex and the Davis Building’s portico — a classic facade that will be replicated for the new structure’s August 2011 reopening.
“The Davis Building has meant so much to the community and contains a lot of memories for generations of people,” said MHS Principal Bob Gagnon. “We want to celebrate what the building has done in the past but also what it will do in the future.”
The new building will encompass, “more technology in classrooms, more usable space, easier access for visitors and handicapped, and the ability to bring in the community to put on shows in a performing arts center that will be one of the largest in the area,” he said.
It will also include rooms for band, chorus, dance and orchestra and state-of-the-art sound and lighting.
“We want to be able to hold events from musical productions to dinner and shows, just be able to do a lot more for the community,” Gagnon said. “We also hope to bring in kids who can choice to a performing arts academy.”
Saturday night’s affair will feature a “Taste of Manatee” dinner walk including numerous popular Manatee County dining establishments — Atlanta Bread Company, Bonefish Grill, Beachhouse, Shake Pit and Soma Diner — as well as the Bradenton Country Club, Canes Cafe, Freedom Village, Keiser University Culinary School, the Sarasota Ritz Carlton and more.
There will be entertainment provided by Hurricanes past and present.
Among them are MHS alums Billy Rice and Emily Roff, as well as the MHS Jazz Band, Chorus and Orchestra, the Sugar ‘Canes, Drama Club and Ballroom Dance Club.
There will be a silent auction, a commemorative program on the history of MHS and the chance to buy customized commemorative bricks from the Davis Building.
Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased by visiting the MHS ticket window during regular business hours.
Or call 714-7300, ext. 2207.
All proceeds will go toward the MHS academic and extra-curricular programs.
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055, or write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL. 34206 or e-mail him at email@example.com. Please include a phone number for verification.