Paula and Richard Rowe, along with May and Paul Poetter, founded the Savannah College of Art and Design in 1978. In March 1979, the college purchased its first building, this former Savannah Volunteer Guards Armory, built in 1892. The college named the building Preston Hall after its architect, William Gibbons Preston, and it has become the flagship building of an expanding campus throughout the Historic and Victorian districts of Savannah. The college`s restoration, rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of this and numerous other historically significant structures have been recognized by the Historical Savannah Foundation, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Preston Hall was renamed Poetter Hall to honor the invaluable contributions of May Poetter who served as Vice President for Admission, and Paul Poetter, who served as Comptroller, from 1978 to 1997 when both were elected to the Board of Trustees.
Dedicated on Founders' Day, October 11, 1997