Reader: Sale of Cleveland Schools Building Would be an Abomination [UPDATE]


[This letter we received back in October, 2011, is especially resonant today. The Missouri-based Drury Southwest hotel chain purchased the historic CMSD headquarters for $4.8 million at auction. They plan to re-purpose the building as 170-180 hotel rooms.

The Cleveland school board will review (and likely approve) the bid at their March 12th meeting. School officials say it's too early to speculate what they'll do with the nearly $5 million.]

Once in awhile a letter from a reader merits its own spot here at Scene, a spotlight from our cigarette lighter if you will. Here's such a case:

Dear Editor,

The Plain Dealer refused to print this letter concerning the sale of the Cleveland Schools administration building.

By researching the PD archives at the library, I found the following information. In 1929, with the threat of hard times, the workers of this city voted for a $2 million bond issue to build the school district’s E 6th St. headquarters. At great expense, the building was constructed in French royal style in the shape of an “E” to serve as an enduring monument that a quality education for the workers’ children was the cornerstone for progress in a democratic society and that its cost would be the cost of doing business in this city. It was also built to remind us of the sacrifices they made and to urge us to action if public education was ever threatened.

Public education is currently under attack by the same powers who wish to turn this monument into a hotel. To do so would be a betrayal not only to our ancestors but also to the citizens of Cleveland and future generations to come.

It should also be noted that the artwork in the building was done in 1930 by School of the Arts teachers and the Lincoln statue was paid for with pennies donated by school children.

— Gene Tracy