Saturday, September 27, 2003

School to open new building

By Anna Michael
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LOVELAND - For more than three decades, the Children's Meeting House Montessori School has been located on a 350-acre farm, complete with rolling hills, nature trails, a pond and an orchard.

But now, the schoolhouse is no longer a 100-year-old dairy barn. CMH is holding a grand opening ceremony for a new building near it Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. The event is complete with an ice cream social and is open to the public.

"We embarked on this in the fall two years ago," said Stephen Richey, a member of the CMH Board of Trustees . "We received pledges from the community and realized that we would be able to do it."

Several parents and staff members donated their talents and time to making the school a reality.

Richey, who is a former teacher and has had at least one child at the school for the past 19 years , was instrumental in getting a $1.5 million Ohio Industrial Revenue bond to cover the construction of the building.

"We probably could not have built the building with conventional financing," he said. "My law firm, Thompson Hine LLP, made a nice contribution by donating a lot of work. They represented the school in the bond deal by generously discounting their normal rates."

CMH hired architect Robert Powell & Associates to draw up the plans, utilizing input from a committee of about eight parents and a couple faculty members. Schumacher and Dugan were hired to complete the construction.

"People are thrilled. We were in an old dairy barn, and it had so much charm, but it was at least 100 years old. The walls were crumbling and when it rained water came in under the doors," Lisa Wachenfeld, CMH's assistant principal said. "It's just like another world "

It was possible for the new school to be built adjacent to the old building because CMH previously had purchased some surrounding farmland. This was important to the faculty, students and parents because it allows students to continue to interact with farm life and nature.


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