(Plain Press, December 2016) On Wednesday, November 16, Menlo Park Academy, a school which specializes in serving gifted children, broke ground on its renovation of the historic Joseph & Feiss Clothing Company property on W. 53rd in the Stockyard neighborhood’s Fenwick area. When the renovation is completed, Menlo Park Academy plans to move the school from Triskett Road in the West Park neighborhood to the W. 53rd site.
Menlo Park Academy currently serves over 400 students and hopes to be able to serve nearly twice as many students at the 7-acre Joseph and Feiss site in a main building which is nearly 80,00 square feet. Menlo Park Academy is a charter school that will partner with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District as part of the Cleveland Plan. Charter schools approved for the plan, receive a portion of the funds from the Cleveland School Operating Levy just renewed by Cleveland voters.
Menlo Park Academy, a Kindergarten through eighth grade nonprofit community school for gifted learners, was founded in 2008 by parents seeking to find appropriate educational option for their gifted children. The plan, according to Fraser Hamilton, a Menlo Park Academy parent and board member, is for the newly renovated school to be ready for the 2017-2018 school year. (Menlo Park Academy plans new school for Joseph & Feiss site, August 2016 Plain Press).
Menlo Park sees its mission to develop the potential of gifted learners through an exemplary program of rewarding experiences that nurtures the whole child. The school draws students living throughout the county. Cleveland Metropolitan School District Executive Director of Charter Schools Stephanie Klupinski says Menlo Park Academy plans to increase their student population overall and also hopes to increase their population of students from Cleveland.
The groundbreaking event was a special ceremony that brought together the community, and the individuals and organizations that made the development possible. The building, which has been vacant for nearly 20 years, will undergo extensive renovation with the $17-million raised. The complex financing package includes over $10 million in tax credits and grant funds including State of Ohio and Federal Historic Tax Credits, State and Federal New Market Tax Credits, and a grant from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.
In attendance at the ceremony were key partners of Menlo Park Academy’s (MPA) success in securing the funds to finance the renovation including: PNC Reginal President Paul Clark, Your CFO Resource President Betsy Figgie, and Reinvestment Fund VP of Strategic Investments Sara Vernon-Sterman. Other speakers included: Ohio Facilities and Construction Services Chief of Facility and Program Services Jeffrey Westhoven and IFF Vice President and Executive Director Kirby Burkholder.
PNC Regional President Paul Clark stated in his ceremony remarks, it’s “a facility worthy of the investment”.
City of Cleveland officials in attendance included City of Cleveland Community Development Director Michael Cosgrove, Ward 3 Councilperson Kerry McCormack, and Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley. Cosgrove and McCormack spoke of the positive influence they expect the development to have on the surrounding community, while Kelley spoke of the importance of a school dedicated to the special needs of gifted learners in the Cleveland area.
For more information on Menlo Park Academy and student qualifications, visit www.MenloParkAcademy.com