26 May 2008

New Fairview German Language Elementary

There was an Open House Sunday. The event was dampened by the sudden death Friday of a dear teacher, Mrs. English.

Front yard:

Typical Classroom: Chemistry Lab:
Old Carriage House in backyard, Clifton Cultural Arts Center is raising funds to rehab it:

Finishes inside are precast painted concrete.

A separate cafeteria, now they use the gym:
New gym and stage:

I have some reservations about the move, however the facilities are 100% improved over the current poorly maintained building (on Warner in Fairview). Unfortunately for us, the new school is another mile from downtown. I am not a fan of the style of the exterior, and the dumpster is located right on McAlpin, with some high, heavy duty black fencing, making it look like a prison yard. There is a landscaping committee that I am sure will be improving the severe landscaping. Same thing inside. It looks pretty severe, all hard surfaces, but will look great when covered with children's artwork etc... But it looks like it will function pretty well as intended. The interior layout is simple and manageable. The whole building seems conductive to cleanliness, order and learning. Overall, I would say a good job by the building committee and architects, especially given the constraints of State requirements, budgets etc...


Anonymous said...

Where this building is sited is perhaps its best feature. It's position is ever so slighty reminiscent of the original - most coolest house - which used to stand there. It does look a little prison-like inside. The outside looks like they forgot to put on the architectural elements. That old heavy black iron fencing (the majority of which has been removed) would make great supports for annual flowering vines- a fun class project? The carriage house exudes so much character, glad it was spared, along with the giant Taxus. Overall, quite an improvment compared to the school building that used to be there.

Kevin LeMaster said...

I checked it out too on Saturday, and it was good to see that the place was so packed with families.

I have to say that I enjoyed the fact that the building was so well-lit. But I would have to agree with the iron bars comment - some vines or something would really soften the edge of those basketball courts along McAlpin. The whole time I was looking at it I was thinking about the Queensgate jail.

Oh...the exterior sucks, too.

I got some pics as well, but they probably won't be up for at least a week. I've got a little bit of a backlog as far as those go.

noname said...

Modern institutional buildings do not resemble jails any more than they do shopping malls. What this and the other new schools do not, and (see below) cannot resemble are Cincinnati's aging school buildings. This may be what is putting some of the posters off a bit.You don't get spires, and nooks and crannies and Gothic details anymore. Schools have to be functional, in particular, they need technology. This building has it. They need to be heat and cooling efficient. This one is. They need to be safe. This one is. Any of you ever seen the size of a Cincinnati Public School building budget? What has been done with it is pretty amazing. Ever realized that new landscapes - including trees, vines (they are already planted - you could see them right next to the basketball court fence), and such - need a couple of years to grow? Can you come up with a better location for the service equipment (A/C compressor, recyclying bins, which need to be both accessible to transortation (i.e., a street) and near the building? I was in the basement of the old Fairview school building today, with the dripping walls, falling plaster, hanging wires, revolting bathroom and serious, really serious, indoor mold issues, and felt like I was in a school the third world. We are very, very lucky to have a new place where so much care has been taken to bring in the light, keep the interior plan open, and make the classrooms and special rooms "work". Visit some of the other new schools in the area. You will notice the difference.

CityKin said...

I agree with much of your comment. However, this building will be full of mold in 40 years if CPS does not maintain it, like they never maintained the old building.

Desiring a more humanistic architecture and inspiring spaces does not necessarily mean I want gothic spires.

CityKin said...

But maybe I should have listed more positives:

The precast (or tilt-up, cast on site, I'm not sure which) was a fantastic choice of construction, extremely durable, with the yellow brick molded into the panels. This works very good, and makes a decent connection to the building across the street. I also like the location of the cafeteria, right up front. The cafeteria has great natural lighting.

Much of my reserve about the project is less this architecture, (although some is that), and more the State requirements that basically eliminate the possibility of doing a new urban school, or re-using the old ones.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to say that there are any number of students in Cincinnati who would trade their school building with cramped classrooms, inadequate ventilation, and sparse electrical service for your school building any day.

CityKin said...

^Every school is supposed to be in a new structure, and they are 3/4 of the way through that plan, so that may be the case for a few remaining schools, but not for many.

Meanwhile, Annunciation, a block to the south continues with an old, un-airconditioned building, low-tech building and the kids are learning just fine.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Actually, only 1/2 of the schools will be in their renovated or new home this Fall.

Another half of the buildings are still being designed, waiting for renovations, moved into swing space, or won't move into swing space for a few years.

And some of the most popular programs (such as North Avondale, Sands, and Walnut Hills) or largest schools (such as Taft High, Dater High, and Hughes) have yet to be built or renovated.

There are still several years left in this plan, and I would say not even half of the district's students will be in physically high quality learning environments by Fall 2008.

And yet we soldier on ...

CityKin said...

Yes, but take Sands as an example. I toured that school a few years ago when we were scouting schools. It is an expansive building on a huge site. In my humble opinion it is hugely wasteful to completely demolish a building, just because it is over 40 years old. I would have gladly sent my children there if it was closer to downtown.

Anonymous said...

A building can be nice looking and technologically advanced without having spires and what have you. But when the building evokes the feeling that something is missing or it isn't finished just by looking at it - that's a different issue.