University Hospitals to lease Coventry School

The Cleveland Heights Planning Commission has approved the short-term use of the former Coventry Elementary School for computer training by University Hospitals. UH will lease the building from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District to train hospital employees on a new electronic medical records system.

According to the district, the agreement will not interfere with its other agreement, to lease the building to the Cleveland Music School Settlement.

 “We are thrilled that the Coventry School building was available,” said Ron Dziedzicki, senior vice president of operations for University Hospitals, “We had developed three selection criteria to use in our decision process, which were site availability during our required time frame, site with close proximity to our main campus facility and minimal conversion cost for the training space. We needed classrooms and Coventry school was empty and available.”

At a Cleveland Heights Planning Commission meeting Sept. 30, University Hospitals proposed to use 12 classrooms six days a week, with three shifts from Jan. 1 to April 30, 2010; and a smaller number of classrooms thereafter until the Settlement begins its lease.

The commission did not approve third-shift use of the school, but otherwise ruled that the training use is substantially similar to school use, and that additional on-site parking would not be needed. University Hospitals plans to run a shuttle bus for employees from its University Circle campus, and is exploring using portions of the north side of the city-owned lot across Euclid Heights Boulevard.

Some residents expressed concern over additional noise and traffic, especially at night. University Hospitals is considering adding a seventh day to its schedule, instead of using an overnight shift. “We are trying to be a good community neighbor,” said Dziedzicki.

Coventry businesses owners Steve Presser, of Big Fun, and Tom Fello, of Tommy’s, expressed support for the project, saying it will benefit local businesses. “I think it’s great,” said Presser, “Both the city and UH have done their due diligence and will maintain the neighborhood’s safety and serenity. We have an opportunity to showcase our community to 11,000 gainfully employed, mature adults who work nearby and may have never been to Coventry and Cleveland Heights – and they may decide they like it.”

The school district will hold a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 13 at the Coventry Elementary School, 2843 Washington Blvd., to discuss its preliminary agreement with The Cleveland Music School Settlement. Speakers will include Superintendent Douglas Heuer and Music School Settlement President Charles D. Lawrence and Director of Development Maureen Ischay.

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Volume 2, Issue 10, Posted 1:05 PM, 10.01.2009