The new and improved Cleveland-Heights High School will reopen on Monday. It has been closed for two years for a massive construction project.
Voters approved a bond issue in 2013 to pay for renovations to the building that opened in 1926.
Two years and about $100 million later, it’s ready to welcome back the roughly 1,600 students who call it home.
District officials said the project did go about $10 million over budget due to unforeseen issues, but it’ll be made up in the next part of this phase, which will be improvements to two middle schools. That work is set to start in 2019.
“I’m so excited,” said one high school teacher as she moved into her new classroom. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
“I feel valued, and I hope the kids feel like that too,” said Melissa Strouth. This will be her 12th year teaching math at Heights High.
“I think the community is excited,” she said. “I hope that they see a return on investment. I know that they voted for this and I appreciate that, and I hope they know we appreciate it. I think it’ll really be worth it in the end.”
The superintendent echoed the gratitude.
“Thank you to the community for believing in our students and for continuing to believe in public education,” said Talisa Dixon, superintendent of Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District.
Heights High is now a mix of the old and new.
Some of the highlights include a new competition gym, a new pool — which will be open to the public during certain hours — and air conditioning throughout the entire building.
They kept the original bricks on the floor and the staircase banisters, and some of the stonework once outside has been reimagined inside by the security checkpoint.
“It feels exciting,” said Angelique Hale. She will be a senior and part of the first graduating class of the new Heights High.
“I really feel honored to be the first graduating class of the new building, and to be able to walk the new stage,” said senior Dash Chesney.
Both Angelique and Dash are National Honor Society students and both plan on studying pre-med after high school.
Heights High has a history of graduating some of the best, and that looks to continue, with the community’s investment in its schools.
There will be a community open house on September 10 from 1-4 p.m. for the public to come tour the new Heights High.
Phase two of the district’s improvement plan includes its elementary schools. That has yet to go before voters for consideration. We are told the focus right now is to get through phase one, which includes the high school and middle schools.