Pictured from Left to Right (All Directors of the Centro Español): Brian Howell Rañon, Cathy Driscoll Varon, John Rañon, Anthony Carreño, Cynthia Tamargo Garcia, E.J. Salcines (Not Pictured (All Directors of the Centro Español): Tim Hunt Bernardo, Arlene Babanats Fernandez, Rene Gonzalez)


TAMPA – More than a century after it was founded, the Centro Español of Tampa is returning to its former home on North Howard Avenue in West Tampa. The move back to “El Palacio” is a milestone in the Centro’s resurgence as a local cultural institution after its founding in 1891.

Located at 2306 N. Howard Ave., the building currently houses the Hillsborough Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to help every Hillsborough County Public School student achieve academic and personal success.

The Centro Español is grateful to the Foundation and President Kim Jowell for allowing it to carve out a small space for its administrative operations in a building that means so much to so many Tampeños of Spanish descent.

“The Palace,” as it was and still is affectionately known, was inaugurated in 1912. It was designed by noted Tampa architect Francis J. Kennard and for many years it was considered to be the heart and soul of the West Tampa neighborhood. The city of Tampa purchased the building 35 years ago. To this day, it remains West Tampa’s most prominent structure.

The missions of the two organizations are complementary and as such, the Centro and the Foundation are committed to exploring how we may work together for the betterment of our community whether through mentoring, language development, lectures or pursuing grants for the restoration of the building. Centro’s members and Board of Directors aim to honor those who came before them who placed so much emphasis on self-reliance and education.

For more information about the Hillsborough Education Foundation, contact President Kim Jowell at (813) 574-0263 or kjowell@educationfoundation.com, or visit its website, www.EducationFoundation.com.

The officers of the Centro Español are President John A. Rañon, Vice President/Treasurer Timothy A. Hunt and Secretary Arlene Babanats. Its directors are Anthony Carreño, Brian Howell, Rene Gonzalez (Emeritus), E.J. Salcines, Cynthia Tamargo and Cathy Varon. The Centro Español may be reached at (813) 870-0559 or aramos.cetampa@gmail.com. For more information, visit www.centroespanoltampa.org.

About the Hillsborough Education Foundation
The Hillsborough Education Foundation provides educational resources and financial assistance to help give every Hillsborough County Public School student the opportunity to achieve personal success. Regardless of background, family structure or economic status, the Hillsborough Education Foundation believes every student can reach his or her potential through public education. The Foundation works in partnership with the community to bring critical resources that are not funded by normal tax revenues to help students succeed in their academic and personal achievements through scholarships, mentoring, free school supplies, innovative classroom projects and recognition for education professionals. For more information on how you can donate and get involved visit www.EducationFoundation.com.

In the news: The Centro Español social club returns to an ancestral home (Tampa Bay Times, June 12, 2018)