School board narrows architect list
by DELANEY WALKER, Banner Staff Writer
Apr 11, 2013 | 872 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland Board of Education members narrowed down the list of potential architects to head the new elementary school construction in a special called meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Board members decided to go around the room and give their top pick. If each member chose a different one, seven firms would be represented on the board.

Steve Morgan, board member, went second to last. He chose not to comment, as all of his top choices had been picked.

The six architecture firms who will be invited to present to the board include: Red Chair Architects, Michael Brady Inc., Cope Associates, Upland Design Group, the Lewis Group and KBJM Architects.

Board members adamantly opposed voicing negative feedback on any of the chosen six, at least at this stage.

Instead, the seven-member board focused on their top picks without dissecting the qualifications.

Eventually those thoughts will be voiced.

“We are going to make somebody sad and we are going to make somebody mad,” said Dawn Robinson, board member. “We have got to have the courage of our convictions.”

A 6-1 vote barred the addition of a seventh firm. Richard Shaw said he felt the board was missing out on a great architectural firm by closing additions.

“I think we are splitting hairs,” Shaw said. “I think there are some others I would add in a heartbeat.”

Robinson said cuts needed to be made at some point.

“Yes, it is splitting hairs, but we need to make cuts somewhere, unless we want to hear all 10 presentations,” said Tom Cloud, board statement.

A suggestion was made to use an existing layout for the new elementary school.

Murl Dirksen opposed the idea, saying the school system prides itself on its buildings’ innovative designs.

He said he wanted the school to look as good on the outside as it does on the inside.

“We want Cleveland to be on the cutting edge. We do not want a cookie cutter school,” Dirksen said.

He cited Mayfield Elementary as his example.

“It is beautiful,” Dirksen said. “... It is held up as the ‘new’ kind of elementary school.”

Peggy Pesterfield, board member, said she is not opposed to an existing layout as long as it fits with the surrounding community.

Letters will be sent out to the chosen firms inviting them to present their plans on Thursday, May 2.

The lineup has already been chosen.

- 8 a.m. Red Chair Architects

- 9 a.m. Michael Brady Inc.

- 10 a.m. Cope Associates

- 1:30 p.m. Upland Design Group

- 2:30 p.m. The Lewis Group

- 3:30 KBJM Architects

Presentations will be held in Lee University’s Rose Lecture Hall at the Helen DeVos College of Education building on the corner of Parker Street and 15th Street N.E.

All presentations are open to the public.