Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Terra cotta school roof preserved

Hyde Park parents raise money

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Appearances matter in Hyde Park.

        When parents found out the Cincinnati Public Schools could not afford to repair the 100-year-old distinctive terra cotta roof of the elementary school, they raised $42,000 rather than see it replaced with asphalt shingles.

        “It is somewhat of an interesting precedent that the neighborhood takes it on its own to raise money for the financially strapped school district,” said Matthew Schottelkotte, chair of the Hyde Park Parent Staff Community Association (PSCA). “We have been fortunate that our neighborhood has been able to do that.”

        It is not the first time people have banded together to raise money for the district. Groups have raised money for everything from science classrooms to playgrounds, such as the one at North Avondale Montessori.

        Most of the money raised for the roof repairs came from a few large donations, some made by people wishing to remain anonymous. Students did not solicit donations, nor was there a high profile fund-raising event.

        “It was a grass-roots campaign,” said Mr. Schottelkotte, an architect and father of three children at the school.

        District business executive Kenton Cashell said it will cost $74,200 more to repair the original terra cotta roof than replace it with shingles. The additional costs will be covered by the $42,000 PSCA raised and $32,200 from the district.

        The uniquely shaped tiles will be removed, numbered and sorted, then put back on the roof after workers replace old material underneath.

        The roof repairs at the building, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in August, was endorsed by the Cincinnati Preservation Association and the Hyde Park Neighborhood Council.

        The present building was built in Romanesque Revival style by the now-defunct architectural firm Dornette & Sheppard. The building is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.


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