Plans call for new Max Hayes to open in Fall of 2015
by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, February 2013) Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) officials and Ward 15 Councilman Matt Zone hosted a community meeting on December 10th in the Max Hayes High School cafeteria to announce the plans and construction schedule for the new Max Hayes High School.
Community members attending the meeting learned that the new Max Hayes High School, to be built at W. 65th and Walworth Avenue (just north of Clark Avenue), is now scheduled to open at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.
“The facility has to be magnificent, ” said Ward 15 Councilman Matt Zone, as he described the multi-year planning process, which included six or seven community meetings; the involvement of area businesses; and the Westside Industrial Retention and Expansion Network.
Zone said much thought has been given to how students will get to and from school. He said the 5-point intersection at W. 65th and Clark now has the second most accidents of any intersection in Ward 15. It will be redesigned as part of the planning for the school. City of Cleveland has already redesigned the corner of W. 65th and Lorain Avenue to make it easier for big 18 wheel trucks to turn the corner. Additional improvements are planned for nearby Train Avenue, said Zone.
Zone also said multipurpose trails on the new school’s site will connect to the trails at Zone Recreation Center. There will be new bike lane striping on W. 65th Street. There will be racks for 54 bikes for students wishing to ride their bikes to school. It was pointed out at the meeting that if more racks are needed, students in the school’s welding class could build more.
CMSD Deputy Chief of Capital Programs Gary Sautter said the new $40 million Max Hayes High School will be built on a 13 acre site that now straddles Walworth Avenue just east of W. 65th and just North of Clark Avenue. The new 165,000 square foot school will be able to hold up to 800 students.
Sautter noted a number of obstacles that had to be overcome by the architects and city officials in the planning process for the new high school. He said an eight-foot wide sewer runs under Walworth Avenue and so the architects had to design a high school where no weight would be placed on the sewer. He said planners, through the efforts of Councilman Matt Zone and others, were able to eliminate the confusing and potentially dangerous intersection at W. 65th, Walworth and Clark. He said, when the school is complete, Walworth Avenue will end at a cul-de-sac just east of the school.
School officials hope students, from the new Max Hayes, will make use of Zone Recreation Center’s new $3 million dollar redesigned outdoor green space which offers a learning lab on how to deal with storm water in a sustainable way. The facility also has fields for baseball and soccer and courts for tennis and basketball as part of the outdoor recreation area.
Max Hayes Principal Phillip Schwenk says the schools new curriculum, outlined in a document called “Take it to the Max”, will be career tech and college prep — not either or. Schwenk says the school will prepare students for the 21st century with a skill set that manufacturers and businesses need. The school schedule includes 80-minute blocks for academic classes, and 160-minute blocks for career tech classes, says Schwenk.
“Part of the pride of Cleveland is we make things. We need to get kids intrigued with that. Problem solving comes from making things,” says Schwenk. Max Hayes has four major pathways that students can explore — Manufacturing, Building and Construction, Transportation and Information Technology, says Schwenk.
In preparing to build the new school, Schwenk says veteran Max Hayes staff member Dave Mikita, who helps students move into post high school career choices, was instrumental in helping the architects to walk through the process of how to best build a school that will meet the unique needs of the Max Hayes curriculum.
Architect Jeff Henderson, a member of the firm that designed the site, says the school was designed based on a “strong idea of what the school wants to do with the site.” He expressed his enthusiasm for the project saying the design will “signal what schools of the future ought to be.”
The school will feature a two-story ninth grade academy on the West 65th Street side of the site. The remainder of the school will be a single-story with academic classroom interspersed between the large laboratories for the building construction, transportation, manufacturing and information technology classes. Henderson says the building will have lots of natural light. Use of sky lighting will make the space feel bigger and save energy, says Henderson. In places, the building will have exposed architectural elements such as columns, beams and duct work so students can observe how the building is constructed. There will be a wall with a clear panel so students can see the pipes in the wall, says Henderson.
The building will be built to Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and the building and the grounds will have features that conserve both water and energy. CMSD officials expect to break ground on the site in the Spring of 2013, with the bulk of the work being done in 2014 and into 2015. Dave Makita will supervise the movement of some of the schools equipment into the new site in the first half of 2015.
In responding to a question whether recent graduates from Max Hayes could be involved as union apprentices working on building a new school for their alma mater, Sautter noted that Mayor Frank Jackson and CEO Eric Gordon were involved in talks with the Cleveland Building Trades Unions to create “some sort of format of how we can work that out.”
Detroit Shoreway Executive Director Jeff Ramsey suggested that Max Hayes students be involved in a project to create a design for the green space in front of the school at the corner of W. 65th and Clark Avenue. Program Director Megan Meister the Stockyard, Clark Fulton Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office suggested that perhaps the metal fabricating shop at the new school could be involved in creating a sculpture for the site.
For those interested in learning more about the plans for Max Hayes and any updates in the Master Facilities Plan for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Consultant Patti Choby of the Colbalt Group says work is underway to create a website for the district’s Office of Capital Projects. Choby is working as a consultant to the CMSD to help facilitate meetings in each of the school districts academic neighborhoods. Max Hayes High School is included in the Lincoln West Academic Cluster that includes the neighborhoods in Cleveland west of the Cuyahoga River and south the lower Big Creek Valley to about W. 117th. The Lincoln West Academic Cluster’s committee has held a couple of preliminary meetings and plans to meet again in January to discuss updating the CMSD master plan for school buildings within the cluster.
Three new schools are scheduled to open within the cluster in the fall of 2013: Almira School at 3380 W. 98th Street: Paul L. Dunbar at 2200 W. 28th Street; and Orchard School at 4200 Bailey Avenue. According to the school district website the new Almira school will have a capacity to serve 450 students; the new Orchard will be able to serve 490 students, and the new Dunbar school will be able to serve up to 450 students.