Cleveland Board of Education approved Upland Design Group’s current conceptual framework for the new elementary school at Monday night’s board meeting.
Board members agreed the next step is to present the framework to the City Council before continuing with design work.
UPG architect Brian Templeton presented a draft of the architectural space program. The outline covered site development, like parking, and every building space from the administrative offices to storage facilities.
He reported a total net program area of 83,020 square feet with a net to gross factor of 1.4 for a total gross area of 116,228 square feet. The area per student is approximately 168 square feet based on the numbers.
According to Templeton, the current average area per student is 150 square feet. Specific requests by the school board and suggestions placed by local teachers have raised the current number by 18.
Dawn Robinson, board member, predicted the school board would have its work cut out for it in convincing the public to jump on board the vision.
“Especially, if [they] do not have kids who are currently in school,” Robinson said. “If you went to school when I went to school, and you sat in rows and did certain things, then it is hard to make people understand why you need this much square feet per child.”
She said it was the job of the board to convince the public of the need.
Board member Richard Shaw agreed. He said he does not have children in the school system, either.
“I wanted an educated population. They are going to be out servicing the community,” Shaw said. “Everybody has a buy-in to the school.”
Board members agreed it would be beneficial to take members of the community and council on tours of the school.
Grading of the land is being completed on the new elementary school property off Georgetown Road. Conceptual drafts, designs and construction are being made with a cap of 700 students in mind. Suggestions were requested by Cleveland City Schools teachers to help design the new building.
A total of five classes each for Kindergarten through fifth grade are currently in the plans. The rooms will be 960 square feet, a comparable number to Mayfield Elementary. Two classrooms are in the design for preschool. In addition to the general classrooms layout, there are 11 Jack and Jill restrooms and 32 safe rooms at 140 square feet each.
Elementary school administrators say many issues between children begin in the bathrooms. Templeton mentioned Jack and Jill restrooms, a bathroom with two doors accessible on either side, have been linked to a decrease in behavioral problems.
Board members peppered Templeton with questions concerning the 32 safe rooms. Each room will fit 25 students in addition to the teacher(s). A safe room is currently designed to be attached to every room. The only opening once in the room will be through the door. Reinforced walls and a roof will hypothetically be able to protect occupants from winds of up to 250 mph.
Templeton said the room would be used as storage when not needed for emergency situations. Board member Richard Shaw questioned whether students and storage would fit in one space. Templeton replied he envisioned only one wall being used for storage with the rest free for the students.
Three special education classrooms are also currently in the conceptual draft at 600 square feet each. Additional items under special education include three safe rooms, a speech and language classroom, a psychologist’s office and storage, for a subtotal of 2,660 square feet.
Specific rooms for art, music, English as a second language, guidance and a science lab have been included in the preliminary conversations.
Due to population increases, many of the city schools have had to use their support rooms, like art and guidance, for additional classrooms.
Board members questioned whether additions could be built onto the building later. Templeton said the goal is to design for the option of additions. However, the final design of the building and layout of the land will dictate whether additions are a possibility.
The cafeteria is currently set to be 3,600 square feet, whereas the gymnasium will be 9,000 square feet. Both have been designed with a student population of 700 in mind. The cafeteria will be able to accommodate a large number of students so lunches will not have to begin at 10:30 a.m. Templeton said the gymnasium is currently set to be built to allow seating for 700 students.
An assembly area will also be built through a multipurpose room with seating for 300. Similar rooms can be seen at Blythe-Bower and Stuart Elementary. These rooms can be used on a daily basis. Currently the framework allows for a 4,000-square-foot multipurpose room, a 1,000-square-foot stage and 400 square feet of storage.
Additional items of interest include:
- Media Center/Library with space for a collection of 1,400 books, a reading and project center area, lesson center, general storage/mobile technology storage, testing rooms, etc. for a subtotal of 3,130 square feet.
- Administrative offices with a reception area, waiting area, principal’s office, SRO office, faculty conference room, nurse’s office, two restrooms, an assistant principal’s office, etc. for a subtotal of 3,395 square feet.
- Projected site development: 50-car staff parking; 100-car visitor parking; canopied building access for bus, car, special-ed and pre-K dropoff; kitchen loading dock; three playgrounds: fenced pre-K playground, K-3 playground and a 4-5 playground; outdoor learning areas; and community amenities like a walking track.
The school board agreed to have the current information presented to the city council as soon as possible.