Military Matters: Former Ft. Benning school stands as reminder of base’s history

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) - Fort Benning continues to celebrate its centennial, which means a lot of history has passed through the gates of the Army post.

Anyone familiar Army life knows that the government is really good at re-purposing, like taking an old building and making it new again.

Patch Hall, for instance, at Ft. Benning is a good example. It currently serves as the Army Community Service Center, but that is not how it started.

"This was originally a school for children, and we were so creative, we called it Fort Benning Children's School," says Bridgett Siter, who is in charge of Marketing and Publicity for Fort Benning MWR, which stands for Morale, Welfare and Recreation. "Before that, children were meeting here and there and any place available, so soldiers, throughout a federal project, and they paid money for their children to attend this school."

Siter is also a bit of a cheerleader for Ft. Benning's history.

"We do a monthly bus tour. It's the best part of my job. Once a month, I take folks around to historic parts of Fort Benning, and every now and then I'll have somebody point at Patch School and say I attended school here," says Siter.

Siter also says despite the occasional distraction, tens of thousands of Army brats were educated at the school.

"It was built in 1931. It was Fort Benning Children's School until it was rededicated in 1945. Captain Alexander Patch grew up on Fort Benning. He was leading forces as a 24-year-old captain. Led an assault on German forces and gave his life in France. His father came back here and dedicated this school as Patch School," says Siter.

Fort Benning is now served by five elementary schools and one middle school, all creating memories of their own..

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