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Four area schools slated for renovation or new construction

PHOTO BY CHUCK HOVEN

Thursday, March 17, 2022; Marion Champlin Seltzer Elementary School Building, 1468 W. 98th Street: The Cleveland Metropolitan School District plans to build a new school next to the current building on land that sits behind Cudell Recreation Center. Once the new school is completed, plans call for the current building to be demolished.

PHOTO BY CHUCK HOVEN

Friday, March 18, 2022; Lincoln West High School, 3202 W. 30th Street: The Cleveland Metropolitan School District plans to tear down this building and build a new school on the site. Construction is expected to begin in 2024 and be completed in 2026. The new building will be significantly smaller than the current school and will not have a pool or auditorium.

Four area schools slated for renovation or new construction

by Chuck Hoven

(Plain Press, April 2022)         The Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) held a series of community meetings in March to discuss its plans to renovate or construct schools as part of Segment 8 of its School Facilities Plan which began with the passage of a bond issue in 2001. For every local dollar it spends on facilities, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District receives roughly $2 in matching funds from the State of Ohio for building plans that meet criterion established by the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC). Items in plans not approved by the OSFC will not receive matching funds. The CMSD plans shared with the public call for the renovation of Joseph Gallagher School and the construction of three new schools – Clark PreK-8 School, Marion C. Seltzer PreK-8 School and Lincoln West High School.

     The Cleveland Metropolitan School District promised additional community meetings will be held in May to seek public input on the planning process. Cleveland Metropolitan School District Chief Engagement Officer Dr. Lee Buddy Jr. Communications and Engagement Specialist Darrielle Snipes along with consultant Patti Choby facilitated the meetings while architects from the firm ThenDesign Architecture (TDA) explained preliminary plans for the schools.

Gallagher School

     The $30 million renovation of Joseph M. Gallagher PreK-8 School is slated to begin at the end of this school year and is expected to be completed by August of 2024. During the renovation students will be attending school at the former Garrett Morgan School at 4016 Woodbine Avenue. The 145,000 square foot building built in 1977 currently houses 765 students and 106 staff members.

     At a March 10th meeting at Gallagher School, 6601 Franklin Boulevard, finding ways to alleviate car congestion on Franklin Boulevard during drop-off and pick-up of students was a major point of discussion. The school property lies between Franklin and Bridge Avenues from W. 65th to W. 69th. Planners said it would be difficult to create a drop-off loop without sacrificing the school’s green space. One suggestion that planners put forth would extend the curb cut on Franklin Boulevard all the way to W. 69th Street.

     Other suggestions to alleviate the congestion, which residents say involves cars double or triple parked on Franklin Boulevard, included having someone outside to manage the situation and encouraging more students and staff to walk, bicycle or ride public transportation to school.

     Planners proposed keeping the bus and van drop-off on Bridge Avenue, adding additional staff parking spaces on the W. 65th side of the building, and enhancing the play area near the reading garden at W. 65th and Franklin.

     Plans call for reprogramming of the building, making some rooms smaller for specialized classes or services. The refurbished building will be able to house both more students (up to 1,100 students) and more school staff (120 staff).

     The renovation of Gallagher School will involve repair or replacement of damaged brick and mortar, updating heating and electrical systems, roofing and foundation work, and new windows and exterior doors. Other suggestions involved redesigning the school entrance while possibly adding a canopy that will bring it closer to Franklin Boulevard.

     Architects from TDA said that the Ohio School Facilities Commission now requires each classroom now have some windows that open to help provide air circulation.

     Residents and stakeholders were invited to offer input on the school plans via an online survey to be found at www.ClevelandMetroSchools.org under the heading Segment 8 Capital Improvements.

Clark School

     Plans call for the Clark PreK-8 School to be replaced with a new school on the grounds of the current school. Architects from TDA said the design work on the new school will take about a year. Construction of the new school is expected to be completed in time for the 2025-26 school year. During construction, plans call for students to attend the former H. Barbara Booker School at 2121 W. 67th Street. Renovations at H. Barbara Booker to accommodate Clark students are already underway. Plans call for students from Clark PreK-8 School to begin next school year (2022-2023 school year) at H. Barbara Booker.

     Clark School currently houses 608 students.

     The proposed plan for the new Clark School calls for a T shaped building with the top of the T on Clark Avenue containing the academic classrooms. The stem of the T will go north of the academic wing and contain administrative offices, dining area, gym and music and dance room.

     Plans for the new school involve new parking areas and play areas. PreK staff parking and student drop off and pick up area will be from a parking lot with an entrance on W. 53rd Street. The PreK playground will also be on that side of the building by the Pre-K classrooms. The remainder of the students will enter on the main entrance of the building which will be on W 56th Street. Buses will be able to go through a staff parking lot on the south end of W. 56th Street to drop off students. The main entrance on W. 56th Street will be directly across from Train Court. Planners say that City of Cleveland plans for nearby Clark Recreation Center have the potential to someday make Train Court a pedestrian court that links Clark School to Clark Recreation Center. The design of the school entrance hopes to take advantage of that possibility. Directly north of the entrance is a play area which is next to the school cafeteria.

     Architects from ThenDesign Architecture (TDA) asked residents to offer their input on the exterior look of the school through completion of an online survey at www.clevelandmetroschools.org. They would like input on how the main entrance is designed, the color of the brick and the overall look of the building – whether residents would like a modern or more traditional design.

Marion C. Seltzer School

     The community meeting to discuss the building of a new Marion C. Seltzer School was held at the school at 1468 W. 98th Street on March 15th.  Cleveland Metropolitan School District Communications and Engagement Specialist Darrielle Snipes moderated the meeting. Architects from Then Design Architecture explained their planning and design process for the new PreK-8 School on a site just north of the current building. Students will remain in the current building while the new building is being built.

     The new building will be roughly 76,000 sq ft and will be designed to house 450 students. The design of the new building will start this summer. Construction of the new building will be from 2023-2025, with the new building scheduled to open for the 2025-2026 school year.

     The design of the new building has the academic area on the north end with the administrative offices and main entrance of the building just south of the academic area with the main entrance to the building on W. 98th Street. The art and music rooms are directly behind the administrative offices. The gym and a separate dining area are on the south side of the main entrance with the ability to open that area separately from the rest of the school. Play areas for both the PreK and the rest of the student body are on the rear of the building adjacent to Cudell Recreation Center’s property. Plans call for a 60-space parking lot just south of the school with an entrance on W. 98th Street. On the site of the current school, plans call for a multipurpose soccer field to be built. 

     Current plans call for parent drop off and bus drop off on W. 98th Street. There is also an area designated for parent pick-up in the Cudell Recreation Center Parking lot near the Tamir Rice Garden.

     A representative of residents on W. 98th Street expressed some concerns to the Plain Press. Some residents would prefer that the existing school be renovated instead of building a new school. If that is not possible, they would like the trees planted when Cudell Tower was constructed to be preserved when the new building is built.

     Residents say pick up and drop off on W. 98th street causes major disruption, blocking of driveways and unacceptable levels of car exhaust. They would like to see all pick up and drop off moved to the Cudell Recreation Center parking lot.

     Residents would like to the make sure the new building will be American Disability Act accessible. They also would like to see more signage or speed bumps to deter traffic from going the wrong way on the one-way W. 98th Street.

     Other concerns were expressed about how construction would be staged and how that will impact both W. 98th Street residents, students, and the fully functioning school during construction. Students would like to see a drinking fountain on every floor.

     Residents and stakeholders were asked to go online to take a survey indicating some of their preferences for design of the schools. The survey is available at www.clevelandmetroschools.org.

Lincoln West High School

     A community meeting to discuss plans for a new Lincoln West High School was held on March 12th at Lincoln West High School, 3202 W. 30th Street. Construction for Lincoln West High School is expected to begin in 2024 and to be completed by August of 2026. During the construction, beginning in August of 2024, students from Lincoln West High School will attend school at the former Garret Morgan School at 4016 Woodbine.

     The Lincoln West High School building currently houses two schools, the Lincoln West School of Global Studies and the Lincoln West School of Science and Health. Currently the School of Global Studies has 355 students, and the School of Science and Health has 267 students. The School of Science and Health has a relationship with MetroHealth Medical Center and plans call for continuing that relationship. The current Lincoln West High School building is roughly 260,000 square feet. The proposed new building will have roughly 100,000 square feet of space. The new school will be designed to serve a minimum of 600 students.

     The architect from TDA said the current school is three stories with one story below grade. When the school is demolished, the land where it now sits will be bowl shaped. Plans for the new school call for two floors. One floor with the gym, dining room, and shared space and some classrooms will be below grade in the bowl.  The architects said the cost to fill the bowl would be prohibitive – about $4 million, thus the choice to have one floor below grade.

     Academic classrooms for the two schools as well as specialized rooms for labs, art, music, and physical education will be on two floors. One floor will be below grade and one floor on ground level. All academic classrooms will have some windows that open. 

     The plans call for the main entrance of the building to be on W. 31st which is a one-way street going south. The academic area is to the south of the main entrance and the administrative offices are to the north of the entrance. The current main entrance is on W. 30th street, which is one-way north.

     A 135-space parking lot will be on the north end of the building where bus drop off will also occur. The parking lot will have entrances from both W. 30th and W. 31st street.  There will be a service drive and service parking space which will come off the W. 30th street entrance to the main parking area. This will have nine parking spaces as well as the trash bins.        The building is approximately 500 feet long, with a corridor running the length of the building. An activity field is planned for the southeast corner of the school site. The activity field will be below ground level and will have steps accessible from W. 30th Street.

     The new school will not have a pool or a dedicated auditorium like the present school. The dining area will have a stage and serve as both a cafeteria and auditorium.  The swim team will go to Cudell Recreation Center to practice.

     To offer input on plans for the new Lincoln West High School visit www.clevelandmetroschools.org or attend Councilwoman Jasmin Santana’s Ward 14 meeting on April 28th from 6-7 p.m. at The Family Ministry Center, 3389 Fulton Road.

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Plain Press 2012 W. 25th Street, Suite #500 Cleveland, OH 44113 Email: plainpress@gmail.com Email Advertising: plainpressads@yahoo.com Phone: (216) 621-3060 Managing Editor: Chuck Hoven Editor: Deborah Rose Sadlon Advertising Representative: Ed Tishel

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