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Renovating Heights High First Would Cost An Extra $8 Million

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School Board again discussed the possibility of renovating the high school in Phase 1 of the proposed facilities master plan.

Renovating Heights High First Would Cost An Extra $8 Million

If the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District started construction on first, the estimated cost of the would increase by more than $8 million.

Steve Shergalis, director of business services, explained why at the regular CH-UH School Board meeting Tuesday night at .

Shergalis said moving the high school first would increase escalation costs, or the projected inflation of supplies, materials and labor. And providing swing space for thousands of students at once would also make the $193.7 million renovation project more expensive.

School board members asked about moving the high school project first at their , as residents had suggested the idea during the .

“(Heights High) is a school that every single one of our students will ultimately attend, or so we hope, and it represents us publicly. It represents us to other schools who come to play against our school ... And I think letting this be a beacon and something really to be proud of, and something to look forward to and sort of rally everyone around would be a positive place to start,” said Krissy Gallagher, who received an energetic applause after she shared the idea at the April 18 meeting.

Sam Bell, owner of , also wrote a proposing the district start with Heights and "show us what you've got."

Plan C, the third idea developed by architects working to renovate and modernize the buildings, calls for renovating , and elementary schools, , and middle schools and demolishing and rebuilding in Phase I of the master plan. The current elementary schools would serve pre-kindergarten through third grade and the middle schools would house fourth through eighth grades.

Heights High would be the only school renovated in Phase II, and the building alone will cost an estimated $81.4 million. 

The first phase would take approximately three years, and Heights High would take two years. The phasing plans included with this article outline the seven-year process and where students would move during construction, which is proposed to begin in the summer of 2013.

“Doing the high school first requires us to incur additional costs to accommodate and create swing space. That’s really the bulk of the cost," Shergalis said.

Superintendent Douglas Heuer said other possible negative impacts of switching the phasing plans have little to do with cost.

"It’s not just a matter of providing swing space, but a matter of providing quality swing space ... We don’t want to have any of our students leave and feel that they’ve been significantly short-changed," Heuer said, noting the importance of the high school years..

Board members asked that Shergalis continue to look into this option. They will meet again to discuss the proposed facilities master plan May 15.

After the regular meeting, board members went into an executive session to discuss the possibility of selling the , which closed in 2006. They did not take action. An of the school should be available May 7.

Look for more highlights from the CH-UH School Board meeting soon, and visit our topic page to see all articles related to the facilities master plan.

Do you still think the district should consider renovating Heights High first? Take our poll below and share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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