Tue, Feb 25, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Alumni fight to save school building

By Lu Hsien-hsiu  /  Staff reporter

Students exercise in the “rain-and-wind corridor” at Keelung’s Renai Elementary School in an undated photograph.

Photo: Lu Hsien-hsiu, Taipei Times

The alumni of a 117-year-old elementary school in Keelung have started a campaign to save the historical buildings on campus amid plans to renovate the complex.

“If the ‘rain-and-wind corridor’ (風雨走廊) is gone, what else can the century-old school be proud of?” said Keelung City Councilor Yu Tzu-yao (游梓耀), who, together with his grandfather, are alumni of Renai Elementary School (仁愛國小).

Yu was referring to a corridor that has been standing on campus since 1899 when the school was completed, and which survived several renovation projects.

Renai was one of the first schools built by the Japanese colonial government after its takeover of Taiwan in 1895 and was originally reserved for Japanese students.

Yu said that throughout the school’s history, most of the original buildings have been flattened and the corridor, popularly known as the rain-and-wind corridor, is the only remaining original structure.

Explaining how the corridor got its name, Yu said the building forms the connection between three other buildings on campus and has a roof, enabling faculty and students to move around and exercise in its sheltered space, when raining.

Yu said that aside from being a fond memory for many local students, many Japanese elders who attended the school also request to see the corridor whenever they return to Taiwan for a visit.

Chang Ju-sung (張如松), a teacher at the school for 40 years, and Keelung Deputy Mayor Ko Shui-yuan (柯水源), who once served as school principal, also said that they feel emotionally attached to the corridor.

Renai principal Yang Chih-chin (楊志欽) said the school administration is neutral on the issue and would respect people’s opinions on whether the corridor should be saved.

Keelung Mayor Chang Tong-rong (張通榮) said he would ask the city’s Department of Education to find the best way to preserve the historical elements of the school, whereas department head Hsiao Chin-li (蕭錦利) said that he would inspect the area before making a decision.

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