Thursday, May 16, 2002

Norwood to unveil schools' revamping

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

        NORWOOD — Keeping an elementary school in each of Norwood's four quadrants is key to a master facilities plan put together by a committee that included architects, residents and educators.

        That plan will be presented at 6 p.m. today at the Norwood Board of Education meeting, in the cafeteria at Williams Avenue Elementary School.

        It calls for razing Allison and Williams Avenue elementary schools, replacing each with a new school to be built on the same sites.

        North Norwood, now leased to the Hamilton County Educational Service Center, would be renovated and reclaimed as an elementary school. Norwood View would also be renovated, but the Sharpsburg campus would be closed.

        Under the plan, Norwood High School would be renovated. Part of the middle school would be rebuilt, and the rest — including the auditorium with its gargoyles and balcony — would be renovated.

        The proposal is vastly different than last year's preliminary report from the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) that recommended the district abandon all of its buildings, except Norwood High School, and replace them with a middle school and two or three elementary schools.

        “This is a nice blend of new facilities and maintaining historic buildings,” said Superintendent Barbara Rider. “It will please most people, and its focus is on the educational needs of our students. I think the steering committee has done a good job of listening to their neighbors.”

        Results from a survey completed by about 500 residents during two community forums showed that 89 percent of those surveyed preferred their children attend classes in a school no further than 1 mile from their homes, said Cary Furniss, district treasurer.

        Seventy-four percent said they wanted sixth-graders to go back to the elementary schools, leaving only seventh- and eighth-graders at the middle school.

        The board is expected to discuss the plan today but take no action until next month.


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