Clark-Fulton Residents Debate Fate of Lincoln West High School

click to enlarge A 1,000-strong Cleveland Teachers Union protest this was not. - ERIC SANDY / SCENE
A 1,000-strong Cleveland Teachers Union protest this was not.
Amid the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s sprawling $200-million construction and renovation plans lie a few question marks. Chief among them is Lincoln West High School and whether the district will rebuild or rehab — and, more specifically, whether the job can accommodate a pool and an auditorium.

“We are committed to doing something significant here,” CEO Eric Gordon said. “Something major needs to be done, deserves to be done at Lincoln West.” He stressed that no decision would be made until closer to the end of the calendar year. Any future Lincoln West High School would likely not be open until sometime during the 2017-2018 school year.

The Monday night meeting pulled in a few dozen residents (their seating was sporadic, hence the awkward photo here). 

Four plans were presented to the public: In short, 1. demolish the whole place and build a totally new high school building 2. demolish the pool and academic wing, and renovate the gym, the basement (either partially or fully) and build a new addition for classrooms 3. demolish the academic wing, and renovate the gym, part of the basement, the pool, and build a new addition for classrooms 4. demolish and rebuild the school in two phases.

Note that Option No. 3 is the only one that includes a pool in the new building, which is something of a sticking point for westside residents (LWHS is the only westside high school with a pool right now).

“In an ideal world we would have all that stuff at a high school,” Gordon said, addressing concerns about the pool in particular. The problem is that the state’s requirements for funding matches are so specific that, often enough, things like pools fall outside the parameters. 

The district itself has $15 million to spend on this high school site (which the state will match at 200 percent, totalling $45 million). Anything beyond that $15 million of local cash is a problem, Gordon said. He said that, were it the will of the people, additional funds would likely need to be scraped together from public-private partnerships and the like, though he added that discussions along those lines have not occurred. 
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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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