Sunday, May 19, 2002

Rockdale leads off project

Work set to begin in Avondale this year

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Rockdale Academy in Avondale will be the first school built under Cincinnati's proposed $1 billion building plan.

        Construction is to begin this summer and completed in 2004. To build it, Condon School, an adjacent historic school that's now abandoned, will be torn down.

        The 650-student, $14 million Rockdale will be the first school built in Cincinnati in 20 years. While part of the school district's $1 billion plan, Rockdale's construction is assured regardless of what happens to the district-wide project.

        Designs include two outdoor basketball courts, an indoor basketball court, 32 classrooms, two playgrounds, a grass playfield, a science lab and a 600-square-foot community room.

        The school also will have space for a 3,250-square-foot, school-based health center with a separate entrance and parking.

        The features are part of the district's plan to build schools that serve as “community learning centers.”

        Anticipating concerns of preservationists, the school board approved a policy for saving historic architecture when feasible.

        Part of the district-wide plan includes a donations fund to pay for removal and storage of historic artifacts and art work.

        “I really appreciate the efforts of the board of education and the administration to provide for the preservation of art and historic buildings,” says Beth Sullebarger, executive director of the Cincinnati Preservation Association. “They're doing it because it's the right thing to do, and it's what the community wants.”

        Public auctions also would be held to raise cash to save artifacts. Cincinnati schools had its first auction May 11.

        About $11,000 worth of Condon School fixtures and surplus items from other Cincinnati Public Schools were sold. After expenses, about $8,000 will go into the fund, school officials say.


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