This is one of three articles covering the CH-UH Facilities Master Plan Community Meeting April 18.
Officials have insisted that the schools slated to close under the proposed Cleveland Heights-University Heights Schools facilities master plan would be put to good use, and plans for re-purposing them are already underway.
Michelle Cramer of Cramer & Associates is working to raise money to help pay for the renovations and fill the schools with new occupants, and she said they have found nine possible partners interested in space.
The across from the high school is nearing capacity, she said, and the Boys & Girls Club has shown interest, as has the , but she couldn’t give specific details yet.
The buildings could be used for higher education programs, health care and social service needs and more, Cramer said.
In addition, they’re working to find sponsors for the football field and other naming opportunities.
But some residents and parents weren't convinced.
“Who have you been in contact with? Who is interested in this land? We have a right to be concerned about this. You have not demonstrated historically that you have dealt with properties in a way that has made them reusable space,” said University Heights resident Dori Nelson-Hollis.
Heuer addressed the elephant in the room in his opening remarks — . The facility, which has sat vacant since it closed in 2006, has drawn much in the past few months and a debate about its worth.
has offered to purchase the building, but the district says the $550,000 on the table is not enough.
“We definitely want it put to good use again, and as soon as possible,” Heuer said. “The board has authorized an appraisal of the property, which is expected to be completed by May 7. Once the board has that information, they will be able to determine how to proceed.”
Akiva Feinstein asked, separate from the appraisal, why Millikin wasn’t included in these plans.
“This program has utilized incredibly intelligent people, people who are designers and architects and consultants, to recreate the district. And I think that’s so wonderful … but the question I have is why isn’t Millikin thrown into the mix?” Feinstein said. “Why can’t we throw this brilliance and this creativity and these resources, these minds that we have all around the room, why can’t they look at the Millikin problem and solve the Millikin problem along with all the other schools in our district?”
Others applauded the district’s — which now houses student writing program , , The Cleveland Sight Center, The and .
“This is in no way to downgrade the (upset feelings) people have around Millikin, but I do want to say that I think the school district has done a fantastic job in the use of Coventry,” said Krissy Gallagher. “The Coventry School building is being used for wonderful community and educational purposes, and I think we should remember that. And we should use that as a model moving forward and we should be proud of what’s going on inside that building.”
Noble Elementary School PTA parent Lindy Burt said she is behind the district's plans and excited for her children to attend "uplifting" schools, but is concerned about the plans to reuse them once they close because of the market and past examples.
"I think we're smart enough to know there's no guarantees in this, and that's scary."
Visit our topic page about the CH-UH Facilities Master Plan to see all related articles.
Share your thoughts about the reuse of closed schools below.