Jesuit High School celebrated a Special Blessing & Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new Antinori Center for the Arts on September 3.
(Click here to view a special video of the ceremony.)
A phenomenal 32,400-square foot facility for the school's wonderful music, theatre, and fine arts programs, the Antinori Center for the Arts will transform the arts at Jesuit, providing an elegant and worthy space for the abundance of talented and creative students and inspiring faculty – and position Jesuit as a leader in the arts in the Tampa Bay area.
The special 30-minute ceremony on campus featured several speakers: student council president William Butler '22, principal Mike Scicchitano '01, Board of Trustees chairman Jim Robbins '77, director of development Nick Suszynski '98, and school president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J.
Providing a wonderful musical backdrop was the Jesuit orchestra led by Nina Wegmann.
Following the speakers, Father Hermes bestowed a blessing, and then the school's Groundbreaking Committee – Butler, Scicchitano, Robbins, Father Hermes, and art department head Kevin Ball '03, performed the ceremonial groundbreaking with golden shovels.
The Arts Center is named in honor of Susan and Ron Antinori '60. In 2019, Jesuit announced a $2 million capital gift by the Antinoris toward Phase II of the school's Campus Master Plan. Ron Antinori has a long history of giving to Jesuit. In 2016, a computer lab was named in memory of his parents, Paul and Rosa Antinori. Now, with this transformational $2 million gift, the centerpiece of Phase II will be named The Antinori Center for the Arts.
Ron Antinori is the founder and CEO of Antinori Software, Inc. (later Carreker-Antinori, Inc.). In 2010 he founded Rapido!, a classical music composition competition, and he has served on the Board of The Atlanta Opera and The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The Antinoris were unable to attend the ceremony, but Suszynski read a letter from Ron Antinori expressing his excitement for the Arts Center and lifelong passion for the arts.
The Shembekar family was among those in attendance. Earlier this year, Dr. Anita Jain Shembekar and her sons – Jackson Shembekar '21, Preston Shembekar '22, and Colin Shembekar '25 – made a transformational $1 million gift to Jesuit. The Arts Center's auditorium will be named in honor of the Shembekar family.
Phase II of Jesuit's Campus Master Plan has been made possible by the school's $50 million 'For Greater Glory' campaign. Phase I of the master plan included the Chapel of the Holy Cross; Oliva Courtyard; a stately perimeter wall that gives the school a collegiate presence; the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto; and Gonzmart Hall, a 32,000-square foot administration and student services building that is a dynamic and enduring presence along Himes Ave.
The Arts Center, which is designed by Alfonso Architects, launches Phase II. It will be located on what is currently the senior parking lot and the adjacent space to the west. The Beck Group will lead the construction effort, and the Antinori Center for the Arts is expected to be completed in early 2023.
The auditorium in the Arts Center will be approximately 5,200 square feet and seat about 430. The lobby will be more than 2,100 square feet, and the black box theatre classroom 1,500 square feet. The theatre stage is more than 3,800 square feet.
Please view below a photo slideshow, and below that a video, from the Special Blessing & Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Antinori Center for the Arts: