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Moving forward with the planning of the building project- Building Bond Referendum - Spring of 2016.

date 11/05/2015 author Brian Phillips category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

The Facilities Task Force Steering Committee met on Thursday, October 29th to review the conceptual block plans presented by Brunton Architects.  The committee looked at three proposed concepts for location and layout.  It was our first opportunity to really start the discussion which included: the transition from one building to the next, views and sunlight into certain spaces, parking spaces needed, and access to all the areas.  The committee also looked at the proposed square footage for the different spaces and added a great deal of input for the architects to re-look at.  

The district will continue to move the planning forward and have all the documentation ready to be sent to M.D.E. for their review.  The district is still planning on a Spring vote for the building project.   The scope of the project still needs further refining before being presented to the public for
their input.  It is our goal to begin soon the public unveiling of the plans and what it could mean for the Cleveland District.  

Thank you for the support on the Operating Referendum. The passing of the referendum means a great deal to this school and the communities that it serves.  

Facilities Task Force Steering Committee

date 09/23/2015 author Brian Phillips category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

We continue to meet with our Facilities Task Force Committee to keep the growth project moving forward.  At our last meeting the Task Force discussed the project and set the identified seven priorities in to the three options.  The architects are working on creating a single project with all the identified spaces, but then break it down into three options.  That way we can test market the entire project and be able to discuss three different options with our stakeholders.  The Three options are broken down into High, Medium and Low in regards to costs and tax impacts. Option 1 (low) is the six classrooms with a shop area, with a commons area and a new kitchen.  Option 2 (medium) is all that is included in option 1 and a gymnasium with a fitness center and a possible walking track.  Option 3 (high) will include everything in options 1 &2 and will include a Performing Arts Center.  

The Committee members also got a chance to do a walkthrough the building to see for themselves the space program limitations and deficiencies. 

This week the Committee meets again to review the identified upgrades to the existing facility.  As part of the whole project, the document identifies what upgrades are needed according to codes, or a general re-purposing of existing spaces based on what is approved in the new addition.  

We are expecting to see the plans and drawings sometime in late December. We will be using our Thought Exchange system of surveys at that time to hear form our stakeholders in regards to the options for the building project.  

This Fall we will send out our second survey that is a follow-up from our first survey taken in May.  The leadership team wil be drilling down into the survey results and identify key areas that need to be addressed. Our intent is to keep the community engaged in the process of a dialog with the school district.  Your responses have provided great insight to where we should be heading as a district.   Please look for the next survey to be sent out this Fall.  The survey again will be a check in type of survey that has open ended questions that are now focused on what was shared in the first survey.  This process will help in guiding the planning in a number of areas such as facilities planning etc.  

Thank you for taking the time to read this update.  I invite your comment.  Have a great day!

Building Update March 2015

date 03/10/2015 author Brian Phillips category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

Yes the rumor is true!  Thirty or so of us met on March 4th and after two hours of discussion, we decided to move in the direction of buying land and building a brand new school.  It seemed like a no-brainer.  Our cost estimate for the addition with the upgrades was coming in around $34 million.  The cost for a brand new K-12  school for 500 students was in the same ballpark.  That was a week ago.  Since then, we have had a couple more meetings and have listened to additional insight from community members as to what we were planning.  I personally needed to take a step back from the project and truly listen to what people were trying to tell me. They were telling me that this school is special and it is held in high regard to many generations of families who have come and gone from this building. Yes it's aging, but nobody wants to see it razed to the ground.  
  I have to admit, I'm personally involved in this project.  It's not my project! I have to remind myself of that fact once in a while.   This is truly a community project.  We started the process with the genuine desire to present a building project that would meet the needs of our students and be something the community would support.  
  I think we have come to the right conclusion regarding the project.  We have decided to scale back the project and return to our original idea to add on to the existing facility. We need to crunch some final numbers but I believe we are getting closer to being able to have public meetings to discuss the proposed project.  The project includes:  A theater with 500 seats, a commons area with a kitchen, 8-12 classrooms and upgrades to the existing facility.  We are hopeful to keep the project costs under $20 million.  We are excited to reveal the project and what it could mean for our school and community.  We were successful in reducing the project costs from $34 million to under $20 million.  We are still planning on a bond vote in August.  We are discussing the possibility of going back to the voters in November to look at an increase in our operating levy.   The request to increase our operating levy is needed regardless if the building bond passes or not.   
   I personally want to thank everyone who have contributed of their time and energies to sit in on meetings to discuss this project. I want to thank the citizens of our district for their patience in this process.  We hope to ramp up our public meetings soon and have all the information on hand to answer your questions- such as; why do we need an addition?  have we studied this from all angles?  what will be the tax impact?  
Thank you for reading this and please feel free to comment.  
 

Additions and changes to programs....

date 02/03/2015 author Brian Phillips category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

We continue to move forward with the planning of the new addition.  The project is coming in a little higher than we expected.  The Facilities and Grounds Committee has the responsibility to review the project and make decisions regarding the scope of the project we want to present to the public. The project came in at an estimated $34 million.  We are having the tax impact analyzed before we make any further decisions.  The part that makes this a little harder for our district is the fact that we haven't had any debt for a number of years.  The easiest way to explain what I mean is to compare our district to a different district.  Let's say that they (the other district) has been paying $450 in taxes and the new $34 million project is going to cost them $500...they can restructure their debt over twenty years and tell the public that the new building will only increase their taxes by $50 per year.  True!  If Cleveland approves an increase of $450...and since we are staring at 0...that means an increase of $450 per year.  Since we don't have any debt to restructure it looks like we had a huge spike in our taxes.  True!  We have had the lowest taxes in the area for ten years and we have paid off our debts.  Now...that was only an example and we are not planning on raising taxes by $450.  We are planning a number of community meetings to find out what our community wants and what they are willing to support.  The proposed final project should be what the community wants and what they are willing to support.  This isn't my project...it's not intended to meet the needs of my kids.  My kids have graduated...this project is about what Cleveland wants...and what our future kids will need.  

Task Force-10/21/14

date 10/21/2014 author Brian Phillips category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

Good Morning Everyone:  Thank you for reading this.  Please feel free to comment.  Last night the District Advisory Committee met and we had a very nice conversation about things such as:  the World's Best Work Force Summary Report, and our "Focus" rating from our MMR scores.  

We will be moving our meeting night and if you are interested in joining our group please contact me at the school. Are you curious as to what we do at the school?  What are you doing about the "Focus" rating?  What goes into making a curriculum decision?  The Advisory group gets to hear first hand reports from a number of groups. The Advisory Committee was formed in compliance with our District's Policy # 616- School District System Accountability.  Please refer to that policy for a clearer picture of the roles and responsibilities of the advisory committee.  

We are in the process of creating a Task Force.  What's a Task Force?  I'm glad you asked.  As we move forward with our plans for the school addition we need to have a group of community members that are willing to review the plans and give us feedback and insights.   Since we are all busy, I was hoping that with a few more interested community members, the advisory group can function as the Task Force.  I would be proposing a single committee that would meet at least once a month.  The meetings will be held at the school and will not be longer than two hours.

Once the Task Force committee is up and running, we will dicuss whether or not the Advisory/Task Force Group would be interested in eventually functioning also as the Vote Yes committee that coordinates the activities towards a successful Building Bond question in August.  

I hope I have peaked your curiosity about getting involved with this important committee.  We could use your insights.   If you have any questions, just give me a call.  

Have a great day!

Meet Our Construction Management Team

date 09/29/2014 author Brian Phillips category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

Good Morning:  We took one more step towards our building project by contracting with Knutson Construction to be our Construction Management Team.  All of the pieces are starting to fall into place and the project is now taking on a life of its own.  The other night our architect and engineer firm showed us some basic design mock ups of the building additions.  It was interesting to begin to see how all of the pieces fit together.  It has been a challenge for our designers to figure out the transition between one building and the next when there is such a difference in elevation.  We are confident in the Team we have assembled.  The Cleveland School District is proud to partner with ISG, Ehlers and Knutson Construction.  We are all committed to providing the highest level of service and will work to create a facility that will enable us to continue to enrich the lives of our students and strenghthen the community.

Updates to the Building Addition

date 09/11/2014 author Brian Phillips category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

9/11/14
Hello.  Latest updates to the progress of the building addition.  We are working with I&S as our engineers and architects.  Ehlers is providing the financial assistance and ensuring that we meet all the timelines and have the proper documentation in order.  

The facilties and grounds committee met last week with I&S to do a walkthrough of our visioning.   We discussed what we wanted to build and now it's up to the designers to draw up some basic concepts of what we talked about.  

Next week the facilties and grounds committee interviews three firms to select which group will serve the district as the construction manager of the project. 

We are working on completing the Review and Comment document to be submitted to the Department of Education.  We will need favorable review from MDE before we can proceed with our project.  I & S concluded their space program analysis of the facility.  The document identifies areas that are adequate in size and other areas of deficiency per square footage recommendations from the state.  

We finalized the purchase of the property to the south of the school.  

This is an exciting time for the school as we celebrate our 100th year as a school.  I will plan on keeping everyone updated on the progress of the building project.  We are creating a timeline of events that will include several community meetings to discuss the proposed project.  

That's all for now...have a great day.

 

Building Addition

date 04/04/2014 author Brian Phillips category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

Good Morning: This is my first blog.  I would like to do a series of blogs over the next several months in  regards to the proposed school building additions.   I have been meeting with the Mayor and other City Officials to discuss a collaboration with the city as we move forward with the new building addition.  Family and Community Engagement is a critical component of the district's growth plan.  The future of the Cleveland Community and the School are inextricably linked.  We haven't decided yet on a name for our campaign but our goals are to form a partnership as we move forward with the addition.  Instead of building a new gym, we want to build a community center.  We want to ensure that the new facilities will meet the needs of all of our residents.  The community center will have a walking track and a fitness center that can be accessed by our residents.  We want to build a community theater.  It will serve as a central place to have performances from our students but also serve as a community theater for community plays etc.  We are putting together a survey to hear what our community members have to say about this proposed project.  We will listen and use the feedback we get to fine tune our plan and project.  Once we have a plan, we will conduct community meetings to ensure that we have ongoing open two way dialogues with all parties.  We share a responsibility to maximize the return on investment of our community's time, talent and treasure in supporting positive outcomes for our students, children and families. 
I invite your comments regarding this proposed growth plan for our community and district.  Have a great day!