Port Royal School Kept Open, Historic Community Preserved
Last Friday, The Beaufort County School Board voted to keep Port Royal Elementary School (PRES) open after it faced threats of closure. The decision was reached after a widespread campaign spearheaded by CNU-Beaufort/Carolinas to preserve the 100-year-old school. Historic schools such as PRES have formed an important fabric of traditional neighborhoods. In the mid 1990s, Dover Kohl’s Port Royal Master Plan focused on the revival of PRES and subsequently brought about prosperity for both the school and Old Town. The Town was eventually awarded one of the first Successes of the New Urbanism by CNU.
PRES has set an example to which other localities inspire, unwittingly becoming a national case study in small town planning, historic preservation, and reinvestment for healthy neighborhoods. Without a doubt, closing the school would have been a blow to both historic Port Royal and the global movement to develop greener, prosperous, and resilient communities.
Here at CNU, we are committed to reforming school campus design to promote sustainability and accessibility in the community. Such reform not only minimizes unnecessary driving, but also saves energy and encourages strong bonds between the school and community members. Even more, we seek to reestablish the role of the school as a work of civic architecture that communicates the importance society places on education. For a century, PRES has exemplified this philosophy. Through our advocacy, we hope that the school will continue to do so for centuries to come.
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