Friday, July 20, 2001

Architects backed for arts campus

Board to decide on contract

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati's Public Schools' planned $52 million kindergarten-to-high school arts campus might have architects by Monday.

        The Board of Education's facilities committee on Thursday recommended the architectural team of Cole & Russell Architects Inc., Fanning/Howey Associates Inc. and Moody/Nolan Ltd. Inc. as its top choice to design the campus, to be built near Music Hall in Over-the-Rhine.

        Once the architects are selected, the school district can move ahead with planning the facility, which will combine Schiel Primary School for Arts Enrichment and the School for Creative and Performing Arts.

        Cincinnati Pops Conductor Erich Kunzel is the visionary behind the arts campus, first proposed in 1996. He has said he hopes students will work with professional musicians and artists as part of their regular school day.

        Gathering community input will be crucial to the design process, said Frederic C. Weckel, marketing director for Cole & Russell.

        “The building will be appropriate in scale and style for the community,” he said. “We want something classy, comfortable, timeless.”

        The board will not enter into a full contract with the architect until at least Oct. 13. That's because the board has said an arts fund-raising group must show by that time substantial evidence of its capability to raise $26 million toward the art campus project.

        The Greater Cincinnati Arts and Education Center, a nonprofit group, has pledged to raise $26 million to match the Board of Education's contribution.

        About $3.4 million has been raised to date, said Paul Bernish, the fund-raising group's public relations director.

        Before the contract is finalized, the nonprofit group and the board will split costs for any preliminary architectural work, said Kent Cashell, the district's business executive.

        Tentative completion for the arts school is 2004, with ground breaking in 2002, Mr. Bernish has said.

        The full board will vote on the facilities committee's recommendation at Monday's meeting.


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