Wednesday, December 05, 2001

SCPA gets $500K gift from trust

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati's hopes for a new public K-12 School for Creative and Performing Arts received a $500,000 boost Tuesday from the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trust.

        It raises the matching funds donated and pledged to $5.1 million; the goal remains $26 million.

        The gift was made by Schmidlapp trustee Fifth Third Bank, whose president, George A. Schaefer Jr., said the pledge helps ensure SCPA's “success and will enable the creation of the finest public school for the arts not only in this region, but nationally.”

        CPS has promised $26 million for a new SCPA next to Music Hall in Over-the-Rhine if private backers, organized as the Greater Cincinnati Arts & Education Center, can raise a like amount.

        A spokesman for the supporters, Paul Bernish, said the most optimistic schedule is to start construction in 2003 and classes in 2005.

        The new facility would house 1,500 students and replace the dilapidated SCPA building for grades 4-12 in Pendleton and K-3 Schiel Primary School for Arts Enrichment in Corryville.

        The largest gift to date is $2.6 million from the Corbett Foundation.

        If Mr. Bernish and his colleagues do not raise the required matching funds, some of the pledges and gifts will be returned unless the school board builds with its $26 million and donors support the smaller project.

        “But we don't think that's going to happen,” he added.

        A public campaign is to begin next year.


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