To keep abreast of the public’s vision for this old school, Friends of South Side, Inc, a non- profit organization was formed in 2004. The initial Board consisted of local business people and community activists familiar with the history of the project, construction and the problems of restoring old structures or, how to attract and implement new or unique programs that would make this “Old School Rock Again”.

The organization was formed for the purpose of preserving from demolition and removal from public ownership and use the “old South Side School” located at the southwest corner of Southwest 7th Street and South Andrews Avenue, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (“South Side School”), and to promote the restoration of said school in conjunction with the surrounding properties acquired from the School Board by the City of Fort Lauderdale in 2004 and the surrounding park property already owned by the City of Fort Lauderdale known as Florence Hardy Park. Further, the purpose of the organization is to promote the re-establishment and operation of this old school site as an historic, educational and social center, highlighting and providing a public forum for the cultural arts for the community. All of such efforts are consistent with and in furtherance of the spirit of cooperative effort undertaken for the acquisition of the South Side School and the surrounding site by the various governmental entities, including the Broward County School Board, Broward County, Florida Community Trust, and the City of Fort Lauderdale and in accordance with the restrictions and covenants governing such acquisition for the public and the community for whom they serve.

After extensive research and brainstorming the concept of a cultural center began to crystallize. The Friends of South Side and the City recognized the importance not only of providing a home for the arts, but to develop unique and diverse programing, not otherwise available in existing City facilities. In that pursuit OF arrangements are now underway to continue this joint public\private effort to oversee the appropriate preservation, restoration, development and operation of the facility.

Friends of South Side Mission Statement

The Friends of South Side is an organization dedicated to the historic and cultural restoration, upkeep and continued enhancement of South Side School as a community based Cultural Arts Center. The Friends of South Side will work to organize and bring citizens together to assist in the planning, financing and development of the South Side Cultural Arts Center and to bring quality cultural opportunities to all citizens and visitors.

Current Board Members:

Sandy Casteel
David Rose
John P. Wilkes
Lu Deaner
Kevin M. Kichar
Yasemin Wasserman
Kathleen Ginestra
Clay H. Wieland

You – All of those you have participated in the rallies, city commission, and other governmental meetings, and forwarded emails or other correspondence expressing their support for the preservation and development of this project. There are currently over 250 who have contributed and are signed up as alumni members, parties of interest and contributors of funds to assist in Friends of South Side’s efforts to fulfill our mission and vision. Special thanks to some of those include Stiles Corporation, Keith & Associates, Inc., Fertig & Gramling, Rogers Family Foundation.