Thursday, January 10, 2002

School officials unveil $1B building plan

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Schools Superintendent Steven Adamowski said Wednesday he wants taxpayers to support a 10-year $1 billion plan to build 35 new schools and renovate 32 others.

        If the plan goes through, 14 school buildings would close for good and there would be fewer buildings overall than there are today. That's in part because of declining enrollment and because many buildings are too costly to renovate.

    Cincinnati Public Schools will hold 12 forums to hear from the public on building proposals. Those meeting dates are:
    • Jan. 15: North Avondale Community Center, 617 Clinton Springs Ave., 7-9 p.m.
    • Jan. 16: Roberts Paideia, 1700 Grand Ave., 7-9 p.m.
    • Jan. 17: Western Hills High School, 2144 Ferguson Road, 7-9 p.m. p.m.
    • Jan. 22: Jacobs High School, 5425 Winton Ridge Lane, 7-9 p.m.
    • Jan. 23: Woodward High School, 7001 Reading Road, 7-9 p.m.
    • Jan. 24: Taft High School, 420 Ezzard Charles Drive, 7-9 p.m.
    • Jan. 29: Hartwell School, 8320 Vine St., 7-9 p.m.
    • Feb. 5: Heinold, 2240 Baltimore Ave., 7-9 p.m.
    • Feb. 6: Clark Montessori, 3030 Erie Ave., 7-9 p.m.
    • Feb. 7: Walnut Hills High School, 3250 Victory Parkway, 7-9 p.m.
    • Feb. 12: Mayerson Academy, 2650 Highland Ave., 7-9 p.m.
    • Feb. 14: Withrow High School, 2488 Madison Road, 7-9 p.m.
        Construction for the first new school could start as early as fall if the board of education approves the administration's building plan.

        “I believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide every student with a world-class learning environment,” said Kent Cashell, district business executive.

        The CPS administration also laid out plans to raise the millions necessary for the massive construction and repair project.

        In 1993, taxpayers defeated a $348 million bond issue for repairs at every school and computers and technology improvements. That issue was based on a report by Turner Construction Co. that detailed problems in all of the district's schools.

        Mr. Cashell said the district will need to raise $500 million this time. A bond issue is sure to come.

        The other $500 million would come from district coffers and the state.

        The state is contributing money for building projects in every school district and has said it will offer CPS $200 million if the state and school district can agree on which schools to renovate and which to close or replace.

        About $300 million more will come, in part, from annual payments in lieu of property taxes that the district gets from the city and Hamilton County for Paul Brown Stadium and the under-construction Great American Ball Park.

        “It's amazing news we can say to the community (this project) needs to be completed and we only need to find 50 cents on the dollar,” Mr. Cashell said.

An evolving district

        District leaders, however, will have to convince the community that 14 schools should close. The district will also have to move students in and out of buildings during construction over the next decade.

        School closings are inevitable for two reasons:

        • Enrollment is declining.

        • Many schools are in such dismal condition that the state says they are too costly to renovate.

        After assessments of every school last year, the state said 61 of the district's 76 schools should be replaced or closed. That number dropped to about 35 following negotiations between the district and the state to save historic buildings.

        Among schools the district intends to renovate:

        North Avondale Montessori, Cheviot, Rothenberg, Lafayette Bloom, College Hill and Hyde Park.

        Among those scheduled to be closed:

        Clifton, Kirby Road, Winton Place, Vine and McKinley.

        Of the new schools to be built, 24 would be at their current sites and 11 at new locations. That includes a new Montessori high school in Westwood where Dater Montessori is now and a new school in the East End.

        CPS' board must agree to the plan by June, but there is room for change. The community will have a chance to give input at 12 public forums scheduled through February. The first begins 7 p.m. Tuesday at the North Avondale Community Center.

        Sue Taylor, president of the 3,000-member Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, said schools need to be rebuilt but teachers have been excluded so far from helping craft the facilities plan.

        “There has never been a bond issue or a levy for which CFT didn't get support,” she said. “It's nice to be involved in all phases from the ground up. Because we weren't involved in the process, we don't feel ownership of the plan.”

        Jan Leslie, district spokeswoman, said the forums will be an opportunity for community voices to be heard.

        “Frankly, we must take this out to the community and let the community tell us what they think.”

        Board member Harriet Russell said she thinks the public, the board and CPS administration will be able to agree on a building plan.

        “We owe it to the future of the city to do this and we owe it to the taxpayers to come up with a plan,” she said.

        “Not only are we increasing educational opportunities for children, this will increase the property values for people who live in the district because school facilities will be better.”
Reports on schools

    Aiken High School
    Anderson Place Elementary
    Academy of World Languages
    BondHill Academy
    Bramble Academy
    BurtonElementary School
    CarsonMontessori School
    Carthage Paideia Academy
    Central Fairmount Elementary School
    Chase Elementary School
    Cheviot Elementary School
    Clark Montessori
    Clifton Elementary School
    College Hill Elementary School
    Covedale Elementary School
    Crest Hills Year-Round School
    Dater High School
    Douglas Elementary School
    EasternHills Elementary School
    Eastwood Paideia School
    FairviewGermanLanguage School
    GambleElementary School
    Hartwell Elementary School
    Hays-Porter Elementary School
    Heberle Elementary School
    Heinold Elementary School
    Hoffman Elementary School
    Hughes Center
    Hyde Park School
    Jacobs Center
    Kilgour Elementary School
    Kirby Road Elementary School
    LafayetteBloomBack-on-TrackAcceleratedMiddle School
    Linwood Elementary School
    Losantiville Elementary School
    McKinley Elementary School
    Midway Elementary School
    Millvale Elementary School
    Mt.Airy Elementary School
    Mt.Washington Elementary School
    North Avondale Montessori School
    North Fairmount Elementary School
    Oyler Elementary School
    ParhamElementary School
    Pleasant Hill Elementary School
    Pleasant Ridge Elementary School
    Quebec Heights Elementary School
    Roberts Paidei Academy
    Rockdale Paideia Academy
    Roll Hill Elementary
    RoselawnCondon Elementary School
    Rothenberg Elementary School
    Sands Montessori School
    South Avondale Elementary School
    Sayler Park Elementary School
    Schie lPrimary School
    Schwab Elementary School
    School for Creative and Performing Arts
    Shroder Middle School
    Silverton Paideia School
    Swifton Primary School
    Taft High School
    Taft Elementary School
    Vine Elementary School
    Walnut Hills High School
    Washburn Elementary School
    Washington Park Elementary School
    Western Hills High School
    Westwood Elementary School
    Whittier Elementary School
    Windsor Elementary School
    WintonMontessori School
    Winton Place Academy
    Withrow High School
    Woodford Paideia School
    Woodward High School


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