School board mulls Snowden’s fate

Published 8:09 am Wednesday, June 20, 2007

By Staff
Seeking input from residents
News Editor
The Beaufort County Board of Education isn’t quite ready to sell S.W. Snowden Elementary School in Aurora.
Board members seemed headed in that direction Monday night, but then they tabled the issue until they can gather opinions from community residents.
Peed wants to make sure selling the building is what the people there want.
Under one proposal, the school board could agree to sell the property to Beaufort County for $100 plus the cost of legal expenses to transfer the property. The county, which has approved that proposal, could then turn the building over to the Town of Aurora so it could be developed as a recreation facility. If the school board does that, it will be exercising its “negotiated price” option, Superintendent Jeff Moss said.
The property was appraised at $39,000, which incorporates demolition work. Appraisers determined the school building has “no reuse value,” Moss said.
Peed and several other board members said they wanted to make sure the Town of Aurora would make appropriate use of the structure, which was built as a school for black students in 1916. It became a public elementary school in the 1960s.
Commissioner Robert Cayton, who recently made the motion for the county to acquire Snowden from the school board, has long supported the notion the old school could become a haven for residents looking for recreational opportunities. Cayton, who lives in Aurora, has said a recreation center would “facilitate the needs of Aurora.”
If the town owns a designated facility, it has opportunities to apply for recreation-related grants, Cayton said Tuesday. That option isn’t on the table right now, because the town doesn’t have such a place, he said.
Former Aurora Colored School student Claudia Clark is leading an effort to preserve the building.