Community Meeting

Community Meeting



March 24, 2011

Principal Luther Johnson acknowledged the first John Marshall ROTC members who did a ceremonial Presentation of Colors.

Gary Sautter, deputy chief of Capital Projects, said CMSD is still planning on building a new school and wanted to bring people up to speed on the challenges of the project. Mr. Sautter discussed budget resolutions and possible layoffs, but emphasized construction funds are separate from general operating funds. He said funding is available for a “mid-west” high school as well.

Mr. Sautter pointed out the average age of CMSD school buildings is 80 years and that the District invested $70,000 a few years ago for new windows and other repairs for John Marshall.

Mr. Sautter said the District officials met on Nov. 16th with the Bellaire Puritas Neighborhood Education Committee (NEC), Council President Martin Sweeney and Councilmen Terrell Pruitt and Martin Keane. The District also hosted a meeting in November with the Brooklawn School community to discuss that building’s use as a swing space for the John Marshall project.

While CMSD wants to move forward to have a new John Marshall built by 2014, the District is sensitive to concerns of neighbors around the Carl Shuler Ninth Grade Academy with regard to the school becoming a swing site for the Marshall project: increased traffic and a larger number of students (10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders) coming to the school.

Mr. Sautter said his team has met with the Design Review Committee and before the project can move ahead, a building permit must be approved. He said CMSD can hear public concern around parking, traffic flow, landscaping, storm-water treatment, etc.

A lot of work has gone into planning the space for modular classrooms at Shuler and Brooklawn. This summer there will be a “facelift” at Shuler to improve bathrooms, science labs and music space. The gym floor will also be updated. Renovations on Shuler can be done by August.

Currently, Shuler accommodates 330 students. The students won’t leave the school proper to enter the modular units, as the units will be attached to the building. The units will feature three general science labs.

CMSD must address landscaping and crumbling sidewalks. Student parking arrangements have been made with St. Paul’s AME Church. The District wants to maintain respect for the neighbors.

John Marshall

Mr. Sautter says the new John Marshall High School will have a larger footprint than the current building one. He discussed different scenarios the District considered for building a new school on the current site.

Jeff Henderson, architect with Cleveland Educational Design Alliance (CEDA), said the project is at the end of the schematic design phase. During that part of the process, architects explore different options for the massing, layout and elevation of the new building. The District has some general design ideas for a secure entrance as it relates to public spaces (gym, cafeteria, etc.). Mr. Henderson stressed plans at this stage are not final.

The design development phase focuses more on HVAC, technology, lighting, and how the new school will relate to the neighborhood.

The next phase would focus on construction documents by which contractors would have written specifications to work with. That process would go to the end of the year. The District would receive construction bids by late winter or next spring. Construction would begin spring 2012.

Acknowledging a significant community attachment to the existing John Marshall, Mr. Henderson said there should be features tied in from the current building to new. Those could color of brick, color or texture of building, and window proportions. The lettering in art-deco stone could be recovered. The three-dimensional eagles and medallions may be preserved. The octagonal main lobby in the current building could be recreated in the new one.

Mr. Henderson said the plan calls for keeping and upgrading the stadium. The frontage of the main academic building will be along W. 140th St. Everything behind the main academic wing (gym, media center, student dining) will be one story. Mr. Henderson said it will be a three-story building in which each floor could function as a separate school.

There may be a formal entrance on the frontage of the building, but it won’t function as the main entrance (which would be on the northwest corner of the school). Visitor parking and staff parking would be situated on the north and south sides of the building school. As is the case in all new CMSD schools, the new Marshall would be designed so the academic wing of the building could be secured so community spaces could used after hours.

The cafetorium would have state-of-the-art lighting and will be able to be used as theatrical space. There will be a main gym and auxiliary gym. The new main gym would be larger than the current gym. A music wing will be separate from academic space. Display cases could be along the main corridor, visible to visitors attending events. The new Marshall will also have a cooking lab.

Mr. Henderson said the building would be LEED-certified to meet the new state requirement.

Satinder Puri requested the District present in clear terms all the cost studies that helped the District determine building a new school would be more cost-effective than renovating it. Mr. Sautter agreed there may be such a presentation, offering to have a meeting to lay out the logic behind building new instead of renovating. A question was also raised about the date the District signed a contract with the consultant. Mr. Sautter said the District would get back to the NEC in two weeks.

Neither an underground track, auditorium nor a pool would not be funded by the State. The pool and gym cannot be kept as rented space, as a pool is difficult to plan around.

The District is ready to engage the staff and principal and will do an in-service training on packing in preparation for a move.

In response to concerns raised about John Marshall athletics:

Football would be played this year at the stadium. Crews will work inside the building during that season on asbestos abatement. After this season, the next two seasons will be played at Rhodes and basketball could be played at Shuler after the floor is sanded and painted. Swimming would take place at the Gunning Recreation Center and volleyball would be played at Shuler.

Football practice would be held at Mohican Park. Soccer, track and wrestling would all take place off-site.

A science teacher asked what kind of labs Shuler will have during construction. There will be access to water and gas, and hoods. Teaching stations will be fully equipped. There will also be a home-economics space at the back of Shuler.

A resident asked a question about the possibility of staggering dismissal times at Shuler to minimize problems with traffic and having more students in the neighborhood. Mr. Sautter said the issue will be addressed by jointly by RTA, CPD and CMSD transportation to make ensure smooth traffic flows. He says there should be a second Shuler meeting within two weeks to update residents on discussions. A two-hour parking limit for Terminal Avenue will be suggested as well as possible parking permits for residents on that street.

Discussion gave way to the renovation of Brooklawn School which lacks science labs and music space. The District said student dining and kitchen facilities would be located in modular units on that site.

The new John Marshall will be built for 1400 students. Today, enrollment between Marshall and Shuler is 1478. Current trends suggest Marshall will not grow.

Will Shuler will still be a school after the new Marshall is built?

Response: That will depend largely on census and populations trends. If enrollment drops, Shuler may not be needed. Whether ninth grade returns to Shuler will depend on academic programming.

Regarding modulars at Shuler: To obtain a permit, CMSD has been asked to remove the units as soon as John Marshall is completed. But the District would like to be able to keep them for future swing space.

The “mid-west high school,” as yet unbuilt, would accommodate 600 students. The District has looked at 14 different sites and is down to four options. The District CEO will soon be brought in on that discussion.

Mr. Sautter said at some point in the future, he may ask representatives from the John Marshall community to articulate support for the project at a school board meeting or a planning commission meeting.