Monday, January 29, 2007

Letter From National Trust

Excerpts from a letter to the School System Associate Superintendent from the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

Thank you for talking with me Monday afternoon January 22nd, regarding the future of Riverview High School. From conversations conducted with you, and with Riverview’s principal Linda Nook, the National Trust understands circumstances surrounding Riverview to be complex, and that in-depth discussion regarding Riverview’s future has been ongoing. The National Trust is aware that a wide range of alternatives has been explored over a number of years. I thank you for this level of discussion.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a nonprofit organization with more than 250,000 members nationwide. As the leader of the national preservation movement, we are committed to saving America’s diverse historic environments and to preserving and revitalizing the livability of communities throughout the country.

Riverview High School, and the work of architect Paul Rudolph, is well known to the National Trust. Riverview’s construction in 1957 and the addition constructed to Sarasota High School the following year, mark Rudolph’s strongest statements of public place-making in Florida. While school administrators question Riverview’s suitability as an educational site, the building’s iconic status warrants identifying a continuing use for, at minimum, a significant portion of Rudolph’s original complex.

The National Trust shares the Sarasota County School Board’s concern that county schoolchildren be provided a safe, secure learning environment that meets 21st century educational needs. It is the National Trust’s belief that with careful planning, Riverview
can be adapted to the demands of 21st century learning.

We respectfully request you join Florida’s preservation community in developing a strategy to preserve this highly significant landmark while adapting it to future use. We offer our assistance in facilitating such an effort, including funding to engage other designers to participate.

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