The Fort Lauderdale City Commission settled a dispute be-tween NSU and Friends of South Side over South Side Elementary School in early March. The commission ruled in NSU’s favor after six months of debate.
The issue arose when NSU asked the city for rights over the elementary school after the university donated money to expand its studio art school and Friends of South Side opposed.
“We were upset with the city for giving proprietary rights over a public facility to a private entity,” said John P. Wilkes, board member of Friends of South Side, an organization formed to save the elementary school when it was about to be demolished six years ago.
Friends of South Side was successful in getting the school declared a historic building, but they needed more than $250,000 every year to run the art programs they wanted.
NSU’s studio school was located near the Museum of Art | Ft. Lauderdale but George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D., NSU president, said the school needed to expand. The university got permission from the city to expand within the building where the school was located, but a bar would not vacate the building.
“So we went to the city of Fort Lauderdale and told them we wanted to be part of the community and give the money [the school] needed without asking [the city] for anything,” said Hanbury. “It was serendipitous in a way.”
The studio school will offer classes in the visual and performing arts for the community. But, Hanbury said NSU art students will also be allowed to use the facilities located in 701 S. Andrews Ave. Dispite his disagreement with the settlement, Wilkes said, “I’m hopeful and optimistic for the residents of the city of Ft. Lauderdale. Maybe NSU will be [provide] a good opportunity and provide programs the city of Fort Lauderdale has failed to provide.”
Students enrolled in the studio school will also be eligible for scholarships from NSU.