Next CH-UH school facilities meeting is Feb. 22
The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public School District is seeking community input to help it reimagine its school buildings for the future. The district will hold the third of four community meetings on its master facilities planning process at 6:30 p.m., in the Cleveland Heights High School social room, on Feb. 22.
For the past two years, the district has been engaging the community about its facilities. The planning process began with the April 2010 Ohio School Facilities Report, and then moved to create a Citizen’s Facilities Committee in June 2010.
After carefully reviewing and analyzing the report and current facilities for nearly a year, the Citizen’s Facilities Committee validated the OSFC report and found the following:
Classrooms are undersized, compared to current standards.
Facility electrical and ventilation systems are inadequate.
Facilities lack automated fire suppression systems.
Some buildings are reported to contain asbestos and other hazardous materials.
Many buildings are not in compliance with ADA accessibility requirements.
The buildings exceed state guidelines for square footage per student.
Current space is outdated, and hinders educational quality.
"It is clear from the State of Ohio, and our own citizens, that we cannot afford to continue as things are. Our facilities are just too expensive [to maintain], and so outdated that they are hindering rather than supporting instruction," stated Stephen Shergalis, director of administrative services for Cleveland Heights-University Heights Schools.
A team of experts, retained by the district, put together a comprehensive plan for the facilities, led by the architectural firms Fielding Nair International (Tampa, FL) and Studio Techne (Cleveland). So far, the planning process has been informed by two community information-gathering meetings, a meeting with the members of each school building’s Pathway design teams, community-sponsored coffees, and information posted on the school facilities blog, as well as e-mails and letters from the community.
"The information-gathering phase of the process has been completed," said Shergalis. "Now it’s time to construct a real plan for our schools and our community."
At the third community meeting, to be held on Feb. 22 in the Heights High social room, from 6:30–8:30 p.m., community residents will have an opportunity to see a student video project. The video includes community, student, and teacher perspectives, and proposals that respond to educational and community needs and interests. Table activities will encourage community input for each of the ideas presented. Childcare and food will be provided at the meeting.
For those who cannot attend the meeting, it will be streamed live on the district's website, www.chuh.org.
In constructing the facilities plan, the school board will consider input gathered at the community meetings, a survey of the community, and from blogs, e-mail, and written responses.
The facilities team will use this feedback to shape a second draft of the facilities plan, which is scheduled to be completed and presented to the community on March 21 in the Heights High social room, from 6:30–8:30 p.m.
For more information about the process, go to www.chuh.org, and click on “CH-UH Facilities Blog.”
Angee Shaker is director of communications for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District.