(Plain Press, April 2015) The Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) held a series of open houses, over the past month, to gather community input on its updated construction plan for Issue 4 funds passed by voters this past November. The school district anticipates the bond issue will raise $200 million and the state of Ohio has promised to match those funds on a $2 to $1 basis for new construction that meets state’s criterion. The CMSD says it plans to replace 22 schools with new buildings over the next four years and plans to remodel 20-23 schools over the next four or 5 years.
CMSD Chief Operating Officer Patrick Zohn says the plan to upgrade the Cleveland schools, which began in 2001, has already built 34 new schools and substantially rehabbed seven schools with a total of 23,000 new seats for students. The state projects that the CMSD’s student population in 2019 will be 32,500 students. Zohn says the state will agree to match funding for new or substantially rehabbed schools for 9,500 more students. Zohn says that 2,500 of those seats are projected for high school students and 7,000 for elementary school students.
Zohn stressed the importance of getting the construction of new schools started by 2019 so the current population projections will be used and the district won’t loose more seats due to possible lower population projections.
Clark Fulton & Stockyard Neighborhoods
One of the Open Houses, on March 5th at Clark School focused on the Construction Plan for the Clark Fulton and Stockyard neighborhoods.
CMSD Chief Operating Officer Patrick Zohn revealed that plans call for a new H. Barbara Booker School (now between W. 65 and W. 67th just South of Lorain Avenue) to be built on the current site of Halle School (between W. 73rd and W. 82nd – South of Clark Avenue). The new Booker is scheduled to open on the Halle School site in August of 2017.
Once Booker students have moved out of their current school, that school will be used as a swing site for Clark School students to move into while a new school is being built on the current site of Clark School (5550 Clark Avenue). That new 500-seat Clark School should open in August of 2018. Once the new Clark School is open, the school district’s plans call for the current H. Barbara Booker School to be demolished and the site turned into a community green space.
On the Eastern end of Clark neighborhood, the district’s current plan is to maintain Walton school as is. Future decisions about the school have been put off until 2018-19.
The greatest amount of discussion occurred around the fate of Lincoln West High School. Zohn said a number of options are on the table for Lincoln West. He promised more meetings before a decision has to be made in eight or nine months. The options include: 1) Demolishing the existing school and building a new school on the site. 2) Demolishing the natatorium and academic wing and renovating the gym wing and partial basement underneath 2A) Demolishing the natatorium and academic wing and renovating the gym wing and a full basement underneath. 3) Demolishing academic wing while renovating the gym wing and partial basement. Only the third option maintains the swimming pool – an expressed desire of the students – especially those on the school’s swim team.
At the time of the meeting at Clark School, Zohn said he had just received a 138 page report from an architect that was asked to consider each of the above options in deciding how to best configure the building to serve 950 students. Zohn said he had not yet read the report.
Councilman Brian Cummins, in attendance at the Clark School Open House, said one of the issues under discussion concerning Lincoln West was where students could go during construction when the new school is being built. He said discussions also have involved how other schools in the neighborhood – Walton Luis Muños Marin and Scranton may come into play in that discussion. Cummins said he would like to find a solution that allows Lincoln West students to stay in the neighborhood during school construction or renovation.
Other High Schools
Zohn noted the planned opening in August of this year of the new Max Hayes at W. 65th and Walworth and the new John Marshall on W. 140th. The movement of students to these new schools will make space available for other moves by the district.
John Marshall students currently at Carl F. Shuler will move into the new John Marshall in August. Plans call for Bard High School Early College Cleveland to vacate the Brooklawn building to move into the Shuler building.
While the Max Hayes students will move to their new building at W. 65th and Walworth, the New Tech West High School students also in the current Max Hayes will not be going to that location. Instead they will be moving to the Brooklawn building – south of Halloran Park off of W. 117th.
The old Max Hayes on Detroit Avenue will be demolished to make way for a new West Side High School, which the district says will be able to accommodate up to 600 students.
In the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood Ward 15 Councilman Matt Zone says the district plans to merge Watterson Lake (W. 74th between Franklin and Detroit) and Waverly (From W. 54th to W. 57, between Bridge and Franklin) into one school to be built on the current site of Waverly. As far as swing space goes, Zone hopes students will be able to stay in the neighborhood and go to Watterson Lake in the 2015-2016 school year, while construction of the new school is underway.
In the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood, Denison School will be torn down to make way for a new school sometime between 2017 and 2019. Students will swing to Charles Mooney during construction.
Plans call for Marion C. Seltzer in the Cudell neighborhood to build a new school in 2017-2018 as well. A community planning process will help determine a swing site and plans for the new school.
The Tremont Montessori School stakeholders are in discussion as to whether they want to have a new school built on the site, rehab the existing school or some combination of partial rehab and part new building.
A number of cases, the CMSD has opted for remodeling rather than building new. Work will begin this summer on Joseph M. Gallagher, Wilbur Wright, Luis Agassiz and Carl F. Shuler on the West Side. In the case of Wilbur Wright, after being rehabbed, the school located in the Westown neighborhood, will add students transitioning from McKinley school which will closed after the transition is complete. Shuler, as mentioned above will be the new home of Bard High School.