The Building Subcommittee will meet tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. at the former Coventry Elementary School. On the agenda is determining several options to present to the full committee regarding how many buildings and where they would be located. At our last meeting, we agreed that we should have one high school and one or two middle schools. We began discussing options for elementary schools but ran out of time before we could finish.
Eric Silverman, one of our co-chairs, e-mailed some notes about the high school building that he had put together. With his permission, I am sharing them here. Both he and I would like to have further discussion about the high school at our meeting tomorrow and would welcome any thoughts/comments from the community on the topic.
Notes on Cleveland Heights High School |Altering Plan C
Before coming up with modifications on Plan C, we must understand what Plan C had in store for Heights High. It planned on demolishing every addition to Heights since 1926, as well as all of the original building north of the auditorium stage. The only addition left, the South Pool, would have been renovated, not replaced. The part of the 1926 building that would have been retained would have been gutted to implement the learning community concept. We should view Plan C at Heights as a renovation in only the most vague of terms.
All of this demolition has two impacts: in necessitates emptying the building of all students, creating the need for an alternate site for two years (at least) and all of the new construction to replace square footage in the 1930, 1949 and 1958/62 additions typically cost $25, $50 or $75 a square foot more than renovated space.
In building the “new” Heights High, let’s look at the building section by section to create a building that has the amenities we want within the budget constraints we have.
Suggestions for the 1926 Building
• Eliminate the “all-in” approach to the Learning Community Concept saving us money. By retaining corridor walls we keep the feeling of the building while we can alter classroom configuration as we have for the last 80 years. This is because the walls between classrooms are not structural.
• Demolish the two 1926 gyms to make room for new construction.
• Renovate (if possible) the spaces behind the auditorium stage and integrate these rooms into the new construction. While primarily small classrooms and mechanical spaces, if they can be retasked let’s do this.
Suggestions for the 1930 Addition | West Wing
• This is the west wing of the building north of the main hall. People do know that this space is an addition as it matches exactly the original design of the building.
• Renovate this space like the 1926 building.
• At the north end of this wing are classes up a half flight of stairs, posing a potential ADA issue. If replacing the Voc-Ed Wing with new construction, perhaps address this floorplate issue by aligning these spaces with the programs housed in this new wing.
• Underneath the entire West Wing (1926 & 1930) place locker rooms and training rooms for the athletic programs. This would connect two upcoming suggestions, renovations to the South Gym and construction of a new Field House/Gym on the site of the Voc-Ed Wing.
Suggestions for the 1949 Addition | Social Room
• Renovate the Social Room and the two stories of classrooms above it.
Suggestions for the 1958/62 Additions | Band Rooms
• Demolish these spaces and restore the courtyard that existed here framed by the 1926 building and 1930 addition.
• This space could be open air or covered, multiple creative uses possible for this space.
Suggestions for the 1958/62 Additions | South Gym
• Renovate the gym, adding a façade that matches the rest of the building.
• The Athletic Department would like to expand the size and seating capacity of the South Gym.
• By moving training rooms to the basement of the West Wing, we can add locker rooms for home and visitor, both genders, underneath the playing floor.
Suggestions for the 1958/62 Additions | South Pool
• REPLACE the South Pool with an all-new pool designed for community use.
• Add locker rooms for home and visitor, both genders, as well as family changing rooms.
• Create ADA entrance accessible off of the parking lot.
• The current pool CANNOT be renovated to add these features.
• Designing the pool to match the architecture of the original building, along with a South Gym with a new veneer means that after we demolish the Science Wing, the building looks like it once did with “wow” appeal. Our negative of being on Cedar Road becomes a positive with the architecture a marketing tool.
Suggestions for the 1958/62 Additions | Cafeteria
• Build a classroom wing above the cafeteria and kitchen like in the Alumni Foundation’s plan for Heights High.
• In this new wing add a 250-seat mini-auditorium at ground level. Why? If you have a meeting or presentation with more than 25 people but less than 500, none of the rooms in the building offer you a good space. By placing it here it becomes a community asset while the rest of the building is dark. Nearly unlimited potential for concerts, presentations, distance learning, etc. in a space which would not require constant set-up and teardown of recording equipment.
• On the 2nd floor along with classrooms, move the IMD department to this space. This allows for easier access after hours as well as to the mini-auditorium for practice.
• On the 3rd floor, locate the library and or art classes (northern light). Perhaps move art classrooms to the former library space above the auditorium for a loft-like area with natural light from both sides.
• In the basement of this new construction locate mechanical systems to power half or two-thirds of the building for a scenario where we renovate the building in two phases.
• Create a formal entrance and lobby outside of the mini-auditorium addressing ADA access to the building.
• Along the east side of the building add an arcade at ground level connecting the large parking lot to the Community Pool. In the middle of the arcade, at the intersection with the main hallway, add the main entrance for visitors. Where the current Library is locate ALL administrative offices, right off of a ground level entrance with parking. Flanking this entrance in the arcade, place two meeting rooms, which can be open for use when the rest of the building is dark.
• Move the parking lot a little into the east field to allow for parking on both sides of the lot with a turning loop at the south end as a drop off at the Community Pool entrance.
• In this concept we create a number of spaces ideal for public use along a central spine which can be open nights, weekends and summers while the rest of the building is dark. This is accomplished through wise use of door placement.
Suggestions for the 1958/62 Additions | Science Wing
• Demolish the Science Wing
• Restore the Courtyard using a collegiate quadrangle model
• If implementing a phased approach to renovating Heights, use the Science Wing as on-site swing space, in that we first create new space, close part of the building for renovation, then house “dislocated” classes in the Science Wing.
Suggestions for the 1974 Addition | Voc-Ed Wing
• Demolish this wing and replace it with a new Field House/Gym replacing two 1926 gyms and related locker rooms. This consolidates athletics for students and teams on the west side of the building. Like the east side of the building, this can allow for greater and easier non-school day usage.
• Examine the space needs for the CTE program, in regard to both square footage and type. IF the auto program is no more, what other types of unique spaces are needed? Is cosmetology the only one that has unique needs? Either way can these needs be met in construction wrapped around the new field house?
• What about the vacant car dealership on Mayfield now owned by UHHS? Is it possible to develop a partnership with UHHS to locate CTE programs in a renovated space 3 stoplights from Heights High?
• No matter what, we should consolidate this program into one space, ideally out of Taylor freeing up this site for more options.
• In a 2-phase construction program at Heights, locate the 2nd mechanical room in this wing or in its current location.
Additional Suggestions |Parking Lot
• Acquire the ten homes directly behind Heights High on Washington to create a large parking lot.
• 7 of the 10 homes are duplexes, not a type of housing Cleveland Heights has in short supply.
• This can be of importance if using a phased approach in renovating Heights
• The parking lot can be of immense use in the summer as a satellite lot for Cain Park, making parking extremely easy within walking distance, a shuttle bus along Goodnor or an all right-turn bus loop.
Key Take Away Items / Why A Phased Approach @ Heights?
• A reduced Learning Community Concept should translate into construction savings, owing to less demolition and needed structural elements to implement it.
• Renovating the 1930 and 1949 additions should also translate into construction savings owing to the lower cost of renovation versus new, since new construction was earmarked for these locations.
• Renovating the South Gym should be cheaper than building all-new (as in Plan C) as well as giving Heights architectural balance which was missing in Plan C.
• A new Community Pool is a far better sell than a renovated pool with limited public access.
• Ignoring the specificity of the new wing over the cafeteria, Plan C had new construction in this exact space with very similar massing. As such this is not that much of a departure spare for renovating the 1949 addition and the details outlined here.
• Plan C had over 10MM allocated for swing space moving the high school to Monticello and displacing those kids as well. This could be a huge negative for high school parents as well as middle school ones. If we can avoid a sea of trailers @ Monticello we can abate this issue and perhaps save money.
• If we can develop a phased approach at Heights that allows use during construction, although this may take longer it may reduce pushback generated by the bullet above as well as create savings and allow work to begin on the Middle Schools sooner.
• Lakewood has utilized a phased approach with trailers on-site. They are more landlocked than we are and their building more “rambling” than ours.
IF we are not using the “all-in” Learning Community approach at Heights, keeping the 1930 & 1949 additions, keeping the South Gym and building a new pool, these alterations render the assumptions from Plan C as dated and as such we need to examine IF we can phase in work at Heights, IF this can save us money and IF we want to do this.
If we can save money we can either apply it to other parts of the project or to elements at Heights we want (i.e. a new pool) while perhaps also reducing the disruptions work at Heights has on the rest of the District.
The more community positives our plan has while minimizing system-wide inconveniences the more we improve our chances at the ballot box.