Saturday, January 25, 2003

Demolition begins to make way for new Midway Elementary

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Demolition has started at the old St. George Hospital building at Glenmore Avenue and Werk Road, Westwood, in preparation for the new Midway Elementary School.

The Cincinnati Board of Education purchased the 11-acre site from Glenmore Properties LLC Jan. 13 for $1.8 million, which includes the cost of demolition, said Mike Burson, director of facilities for the board.

The O'Rourke Wrecking Co. of Linwood is handling the demolition.

The new building will replace the old Midway school building at 3200 Midway Ave., Westwood, scheduled to open in the fall of 2005.

It will house 550 students from preschool through the eighth grade, Mr. Burson said.

He said the new building will conform to the new design concept the board is using in its facilities master plan, which calls for constructing 35 buildings and extensively renovating 31 others.

"It will have four classrooms grouped around an extended learning area," Mr. Burson said. "This is ideal for the team-teaching concept." The learning area also provides for special lectures involving all the students, he said.

Mr. Burson said school officials consulted with the neighborhood on designing the building to look like other buildings in the area.

That pleased Anthony Beard of 3270 Hanna Ave., close to the site.

"I am OK with it, and I don't think it will cause any problems with this neighborhood," Mr. Beard said.

There will be spaces for buses to load and unload children on school property. The site also has a large green space area in back of the school.

Jan Leslie, director of public affairs for the board, said the Midway school is one of 17 involved in the first phase of the facilities master plan.

"In the first phase, we plan to build 15 schools and renovate two," she said.

"This is an excellent site because it is difficult to find large sites for schools. This gives us enough space to have bus delivery space and space for parent drop-offs. Also one good thing is that the school is like the center of the neighborhood," she said.

She said parents, teachers and community leaders are working together to make the school a community-use building. "We want the school to be available for the people in the community to use the gym, the stage and evening classes and meetings."

E-mail ahoward@enquirer

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