University Heights will have an elementary school within its boundaries in each of the six recommendations under consideration by the district’s Lay Facilities Committee.
The committee met Tuesday night to present six scenarios they have written for district restructuring and building renovation. The scenarios would close some buildings, including either the Gearity or Wiley building, but Committee Chair Patrick Mullen said that one of the two buildings would stay open and house the elementary school.
The committee, created by the CH-UH School Board at the recommendation of FutureHeights and Reaching Heights, is tasked with examining the facilities master plan and determining what aspects of the plan the community would support.
Next week, the committee will release a survey to the public asking their preferences for the new configuration of the district's schools, and will use those results to narrow the six scenarios to three at its March 6 meeting.
Then, it will ask its architectural and construction consultants to determine the cost of each scenario and send their findings to the Board of Education in April.
Click on the PDF to the right to see all the scenarios presented tonight, as well as a map of the district's current configuration, and watch Cleveland Heights Patch for more information as we update this story.
The following information was added after this article's original publishing.
All six scenarios written by the committee entail closing some schools and use only the property that the district already owns — and cut the number of open schools in the disctrict from 11 to seven or eight.
Heights High is the only building that would not close under any of the six plans.
Scenario 1 would leave CH-UH with one middle school, located at the current site of Boulevard Elementary. However, during Tuesday's meeting architectural consultant Steve Dzuranin told the committee that the site is not big enough to host a building large enough for all the district's students with athletic fields.
The other scenarios have two middle schools and four or five elementary schools. No matter what, the committee will recommend a renovation or rebuild of the high school and other buildings.
The committee is taking into account many factors in their consideration of these scenarios, including public opinion, districting — how far will each student live from their school? — busing, staffing, cost and flexibility for future enrollment change.
Ultimately, a master plan will be approved by the Board of Education, and the district will need a bond from voters this November to put the plan into motion.
The committee discussed community engagement during the meeting and many said that they believe it will improve once the scenarios get out — and residents see the schools in their neighborhood could close.
"Now is the time [for the community] to get involved," Mullen said. "We're going to have some specific possibilites that have consequences."
Surveys will be taken beginning next week online and in person. Watch Cleveland Heights Patch for the link to the online survey as soon as it becomes available.