Lakewood College moves to renovated building on North Taylor Road
In June, Lakewood College moved its operations to 2231 North Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights from Lakewood. The college, founded in 1998, teaches in a “self-guided distance learning” model. The college relocated so that it could expand. “We were outgrowing our space,” said Jessica Regal, Lakewood College marketing assistant.
Isaac Haggins, Lakewood College vice president of business development, and his wife Tanya, Lakewood College CEO, purchased the North Taylor property in 2012. The building was constructed in the 1950s and originally served as a medical office. It then housed a series of high-end beauty salons before it became unoccupied. “This building had been vacant for three years,” Regal said.
With the help of the City of Cleveland Heights, Lakewood College transformed the empty, vandalized building. The Haggins used the city’s Storefront Renovation Program, which provides rebates, loans and design assistance to create revitalized exteriors of commercial buildings in certain districts. “We worked with the property owners to come up with the overall plan for the renovation program,” said Kara Hamley O’Donnell, Cleveland Heights city planner. “We [designed] it in a way that we thought would really transform the neighborhood.”
The renovation process took a year and a half. The renovation program provided the means to transform the building’s exterior, but the owners also renovated the plumbing, electric and other aspects of the interior. “We stripped everything down to the studs,” Isaac said.
Although the building solved Lakewood College’s office space concerns, the Haggins, who are Cleveland Heights residents, purchased the North Taylor property for additional reasons.
In the 1960s, Isaac’s father, also named Isaac Haggins, was one of the first African-American real estate agents in the region. His real estate office, located near the Lakewood College building, was bombed in 1969 in opposition to racial integration.
For Tanya, the North Taylor area is where she lived as a child. Growing up, she often passed the building that houses the Lakewood College offices. When the time came to find a new location for the college, she and her husband wanted to restore the building to improve the neighborhood.
“To be able to renovate and rebuild [the building] really means a lot to the community,” Regal said.
Lakewood College offers only online classes, with programs for the business, legal and medical fields. The college also offers a GED preparation course. “We’ll probably make more programs that follow career trends,” Regal commented.
In the future, Lakewood College plans to start a program to help Cleveland’s homeless to find jobs, as well as workshops that will be open to the public.
For more information about Lakewood College, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-517-0857, or visit visit www.lakewoodcollege.edu. For more information about the Storefront Renovation Program, call 216-291-4885.
Simone Jasper is a 2012 graduate of Beaumont School. She studies print journalism at Elon University and is an intern at the Heights Observer.