By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The Withrow Tigers' basketball team will finally land a home court after about three decades under a $34.8 million facelift planned for the historic Hyde Park school.
The Cincinnati Public School Board on Monday night approved designs for a new 450-student Millvale Elementary and renovations at Withrow.
The two projects are part of a $1 billion construction project to renovate and replace 66 district schools over the next decade.
The renovated Withrow, which will house Withrow University High School and Withrow International High School, will gain a 30,000-square-foot athletic center, including a new gymnasium seating 1,700. The school also will gain a regulation-size soccer field and track.
"This project really represents home court advantage for the Tigers," said architect Thomas Lindsey of Cole Russell and Fanning Howey Associated Architects.
While Withrow will retain its historic fa┴ade, clock tower and arched brick bridge, five buildings in the rear of the school will be demolished, including the 1970s vocational building, boiler room and former industrial arts buildings.
The 1,200-student school will lose about 200,000 square feet, Lindsey said.
Withrow's renovations are expected to be complete by April 2007.
The new pre-K-8 Millvale will be built on a new site, 3.1 acres at Beekman Street and Fricke Road, about a block from its current location in South Cumminsville. The cost of the three-story building is estimated at $11.3 million.
Community members were concerned about security and cautioned against too many windows. Therefore, the new school, designed by URS Corp., features a 21/2-story, glass-encased stairway that architects say will allow light into the school but will preserve security because it's built above ground level.
Construction is expected to be complete by December 2005, and students will stay in their current building until completion.
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