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Residents Hear More About Coventry School Reuse Plans

About 30 people attended a meeting Thursday night hosted by the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School DIstrict to hear from current and future tenants

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District hosted a meeting at the former Coventry School Thursday night to give residents the opportunity to hear from current and future tenants about plans for the building. 

Representatives from the Ensemble Theatre, Family Connections, The Cleveland Sight Center and The Open Office sat on a panel and talked about their organizations and possible plans for the building, located on 2843 Washington Blvd. 

, and most likely will extend its lease, which ends in August, said Steve Shergalis, business services director for the CHUH School District.

, and the three organizations will take up about 40,000 square feet of the approximately 60,000 in the building, Shergalis said. The CHUH School Board will review the plans at its next meeting. 

The building, one of the “open classroom” schools constructed in the ‘70s, will be renovated and divided into separate spaces to fit the organizations’ needs.  Upgrades will be made to the fire alarm system, the district will hire a consultant to conduct a study to assess the outside lighting and the parking lot will be paved, among other improvements, Shergalis said.

Total cost for the project was not available at the time of this publication, but the Cleveland Heights City Council approved a $15,000 loan to the Sight Center from the Community Development Block Grant fund at its meeting April 20.

The Sight Center will also use space at the Rockefeller Pointe building on Lee Boulevard and Mayfield Road while its space on East 101st Street is renovated.

The city is hiring CT Consultants to complete construction plans and supervise the bidding process to install audible pedestrian signals and new ramps on the curbs to improve access for people with impaired vision or physical disabilities at the Lee Boulevard and Mayfield Road intersection. Their services will not cost more than $8,500, according to the resolution from the City Council meeting May 2. The sight center was mentioned when the resolution was read. 

Steven Friedman, executive director of the Sight Center, thanked the city and school district for creating space so quickly, and hinted that the center would be interested in a permanent space for some services. 

“What would it take for us to stay here? Which I think is implicit in what you’re hoping should happen …We love everything you have done,” Friedman said.

Family Connections, formally the Heights Parent Center, will also use old classrooms for its events and activities, like the drop-ins for parents to mingle with other moms and dads while playing with their children. 

Another company, The Open Office, which provides short- and long-term office space for people who work from home, is also scouting a section of the school. Shergalis said that the city would have to modify the zoning and schedule community meetings before the company could move in, but the district is very interested, so he wanted people to meet the owner, Andrew Auten.

After the panel was finished presenting, residents spoke, praising the organizations and the school district for keeping the building open, and offered suggestions. 

More details about the former Coventry School plans will be in future articles, and check out video clips from the meeting, which include residents' feedback.

Ellen Wurtzel May 11, 2011 at 02:46 PM
I think this is wonderful news! It is really nice to see the district helping small businesses stay in the neighborhood and flourish. I hope the plans get approved soon. EBW

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