by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, June 2015) Partnerships with organizations outside of the school district may be the best way to assure Lincoln West High School keeps resources such as its pool and auditorium when the new Lincoln West is built.
Only one of the five options put forth by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District for a future Lincoln West High School will keep the swimming pool, gymnasium and auditorium. Unfortunately, according to district calculations, that option will involve the school district spending more local dollars than the other four options — $19.33 million versus the other options for which the school district’s costs range from $13.37 million to $17.38 million. The reason is the State of Ohio will not use its matching funds to fund the cost of separate auditoriums or the cost of a swimming pool.
This means the Cleveland Metropolitan School District must expend the additional dollars on this project or find local partners to help defray the additional cost. As advocates for saving the historic John Marshall building learned, it is simply not enough for the majority of those attending public meetings to want such treasures preserved, someone has to come up with the dollars.
At a May 4th meeting at Lincoln West High School, Lincoln West High School Principal Dr. Irene Javier made it clear that the school uses the auditorium every day. It was noted the school has a 20-member swim team. The pool is school district’s only swimming pool on the west side, and will host this year’s district swimming championship. It was also noted the pool and the gym are open to the public several days a week for six months out of the year as part of the Neighborhood Leadership Institute’s Schools as a Neighborhood Resource Program.
School officials said they would like to know what design they are going to choose for the new Lincoln West by January 1, 2016. This leaves a scant six months to bring to the table players with budgets, which could help keep these resources at Lincoln West should the community so desire. Several possible candidates were mentioned at the May 4th meeting, including the City of Cleveland Department of Recreation, which reportedly is examining the possibility of replacing Clark Recreation Center; the Neighborhood Leadership Institute which runs the School as a Neighborhood Resource Program; and MetroHealth Medical Center which currently offers health services to Lincoln West students via a trailer in the parking lot.
Fortunately, at the May 4th meeting, Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization Executive Director Jeff Ramsey, and Director of the Stockyard Clark Fulton Brooklyn Center Program Office, offered to convene an additional neighborhood meeting. City Council representatives from the wards served by Lincoln West High School should join with Ramsey and Cleveland Metropolitan School District officials in making sure the meeting happens. They should also assure the players that can make budgetary decisions to form possible partnerships with Lincoln West High School are in attendance.