Wednesday, April 30, 2003

School built in 1876 near the end of its life

[IMAGE] Debbie Mack has two kids at McKinley School in the East End.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
Debbie Mack attended McKinley Elementary in the East End, as did her father, two siblings, a cousin and an aunt.

Now her two children are students at the district's oldest school, built in 1876.

In 1980, Mack and her family helped raise money to paint and repair the three-story brick elementary school to prevent its closure. But more than 20 years later, the end is near for the building, slated to close in spring 2005.

During a recent tour, Mack pointed out cracks in walls around the windows, a basement kindergarten room that floods periodically and three classrooms that were affected by a recent roof leak.

Mack is excited about a new K-12 East End school scheduled to open in fall 2005 for students from Linwood and McKinley elementary schools.

Cincinnati Public schools are 61 years old on average; 33 of the district's 80 buildings were built before 1940.
Parents envision more activities, sports teams and a band to keep kids interested in coming to school and stem the area's low graduation rate.

More important, the students won't have to stray from their neighborhood, Mack says. Withrow High School in Hyde Park, the closest high school, is nearly four miles away.

"I believe if the kids stay in the same school with the kids they grew up with, there will be a better graduation rate."

Jennifer Mrozowski

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