CH-UH Facilities Master Plan Receives Praise, Criticism
More than 300 people gathered Wednesday night to hear more about the district’s plans to renovate the school district and provide feedback.
This is one of three articles covering the CH-UH Facilities Master Plan Community Meeting April 18.
More than 300 people gathered in the Heights High Social Room Wednesday night to hear more about Plan C, the final idea of the three facilities master plans that the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District has proposed.
Architects working on the master plan presented details about the renovations, which envision dramatic changes to the layout of school buildings, creating much larger classrooms divided by glass partitions and garage-door style doorways to create a variety of large and small group spaces, converting hallways and other unused corners into learning centers and more.
In addition, the buildings' grade configuration would change — pre-kindergarten through third grade in four primary buildings, fourth through eighth grade in three middle school buildings and ninth through 12th grade at Heights High.
The third plan presented by the district and architects to address its aging buildings would carry a $189 million price tag. Earlier plans, which would have closed many more schools, would have cost upwards of $200 million. The plan is estimated to save $3.5 million each year in operational costs and do more than put a band-aid on the more than $40 million in repairs needed in the antiquated spaces.
Dave Tabor, who served on the Citizens Facilities Committee, which studied the district's buildings for months and determined a best course of action, compared the needs of the schools to the condition of South Taylor Road.
"It's something you can no longer patch," he said.
The third design idea was created in response to community feedback — it keeps the pool and football field at the school, preserves the 1920s architecture, demolishes newer additions like the science wing added to Cleveland Heights High School and does not include pre-kindergarten through eighth grade schools.
Some parents loved the plans.
“I want my kids to be in a building that’s uplifting and fun and meets the needs of a 21st century education — that’s what’s most important to me,” said Lindy Burt, PTA president of Noble Elementary School, which is slated to close.
Others had mixed feelings.
“No one has explained the term of the bond,” said Elise Hagesfeld, a Cleveland Heights resident. “It’s a lot, it’s very ambitious and bold, which is what I like about the plan. But the money issue is what I’m concerned about.”
Superintendent Douglas Heuer addressed other primary concerns of many at the meeting — shuttering schools, re-purposing buildings and paying for the plans.
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Come back to Cleveland Heights Patch next week for highlights from Monday's meeting where the CH-UH School Board will discuss bonds and other ways the district can pay for the facilities master plan. The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. at Wiley Middle School.
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