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Detroit Shoreway, Education, Gordon Square, Photos

Hawken School to establish a West Side presence

berger-building

PHOTO BY CHUCK HOVEN Wednesday, October 26, 2016; W. 54th and Detroit Avenue: Hawken School announced it has entered into an agreement to purchase the Berger Building at 5400 Detroit Avenue. Hawken plans to rehab the building to use it as an Early Childhood Center. For many years the building, owned by the Friendship Foundation of American Vietnamese, housed Saigon Plaza, where many events for the local Vietnamese community were hosted by the group.

(Plain Press, November 2016)    Hawken School, which has facilities in Gates Mills, Lyndhurst and University Circle on the East Side of Cleveland, recently announced plans to expand its presence on the West Side of Cleveland.

In an October 10th letter addressed to the Hawken Community, Hawken School Board of Trustees Chair Charles Cooley and Hawken Head of School D. Scott Looney announced that the school has agreed to merge with Birchwood School which has a campus on W. 140th in Cleveland.

Birchwood School, at 4400 W. 140th Street in the Bellaire Puritas neighborhood, serves students from preschool through eighth grade. According to the letter the founders of Birchwood School, Chuck and Helene Debelak, have ties to Hawken School. Three of their children are Hawken alumni.

The letter also states that Hawken is planning to purchase a building at 5400 Detroit Avenue to open as an Early Childhood Center. The building currently houses Saigon Plaza and is owned by the Friendship Foundation of American Vietnamese. The building is in the Gordon Square area of the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood.

“We are excited about moving forward with these plans for many reasons. Opening an early childhood center in this region will fill a demand for more quality schools in Cleveland; it will create more opportunities for students to join the Hawken community as they enter into our Birchwood and Lyndhurst Lower Schools; and it will strengthen our position as ‘Cleveland’s Independent School,’” said Cooley and Looney.

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