Thursday, April 3, 2003

East End hopes for policing center in new school

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

East End community leaders are hoping for a $150,000 gift from City Hall that would place a community-oriented policing center in the new East End school.

Councilmen David Crowleyand John Cranley are asking City Council to allocate the money from the Neighborhood Investment Reserve to Cincinnati Public Schools for construction of the policing center.

The $19.7 million school, which will tentatively open in fall 2004 at Delta and Kellogg avenues, will be a community learning center - so the building will be used beyond the end of the school day. The K-12 school will replace McKinley and Linwood elementaries.

The new school will provide academic, health, recreational and social needs of the community year-round, said Dee Fricker, a community activist who has helped lead the project and is a parent of three CPS students.

Planning the new East End school has involved grassroots involvement from the neighborhoods of Linwood, Columbia-Tusculum and East End. A major concern of community members is security for the building, Fricker said.

The policing center would be the last piece to the puzzle.

Lt. Rick Biehl, an assistant Cincinnati Police Department chief, said the center would be the first of its kind in the city. It would go beyond the typical police substation, offering such programs as Citizens Police Academy classes, Citizens on Patrol training and Block Watch meetings.

Other agencies that have committed resources to the center:

• The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati will spend $380,000 for a facility center in the school.

• Neighborhood Health Care is investing $600,000 for a fully integrated pediatric center for the children in the school and the community.

• The Cincinnati Museum Center will spend $100,000 for a staffing liaison to link the learning center to the museum center. Museum center staff will provide curriculum and programs to help students identify with their own culture and learn about other diverse cultures.

The East End school is part of the first phase of the school district's 10-year building plan.

John Gilligan, a member of the Cincinnati Public School Board, said the hope is the community learning center becomes a model for future schools in the city.

"We're not just going to replace old and decrepit school buildings, but we're opening up a whole new concept of how schools should function to the benefit of children and their families."


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