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News items come from the U.S. Department of Educations's National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF).


DC's Hyde-Addison school Gym Designs Made Public
-- Staff Writer, Georgetown Metropolitan

District of Columbia: November 20, 2014 -- Last night at St. John’s, representatives of the DC Department of General Services presented more detailed plans for the most recent version for the planned expansion of Hyde-Addison School. The city has been planning the expansion for years, and these plans appear to be the closest to the final ones that the neighborhood has seen yet. The primary reason the expansion is that the school completely lacks a gym. It has no space large enough to contain the entire school population in one room. It has a cafeteria and library, but both are insufficient. Finally, it doesn’t have enough classroom space to accommodate the growth the school is anticipating. The plan has evolved dramatically. Back in June, the idea was that to preserve the outdoor space, the entire building would have to be built underground. While this was an intriguing design, ultimately the Old Georgetown Board rejected it. Since then the OGB has approved the modified massing of the project (i.e. the general size and shape). It will be an above-ground building located between the Hyde and Addison buildings. The gym, though, would be buried mostly under the playground. You can see the footprint of the project above, showing the gym.


Worcester schools awarded $9.6 million in grants for accelerated repairs
-- Lindsay Corcoran, Masslive.com

Massachusetts: November 19, 2014 -- WORCESTER – The Massachusetts School Building Authority has awarded the Worcester Public School district with over $9.6 million in accelerated repair grants to make improvements to four school buildings. The grant money will cover about 80 percent of the cost of window and door replacements at four schools including: Clark Street Developmental Learning School, Goddard School of Science and Technology, Union Hill School and West Tatnuck School. The total cost of these projects is about $12.9 million. Brian Allen, the chief financial and operations officer for the Worcester Public Schools said this is the third year Worcester has received funding for these types of repairs. “Other works on window and boiler replacements have gone a long way toward improving the aesthetic of schools for students and families, but they’ve also an energy saver,” Allen said. He said it’s hard to put an exact figure on the savings since many of the upgrades are still new, but said they’re expecting “good numbers” this year. He noted the latest projects will bring the total number of school buildings in the district that have received these upgrades to 13 out of a total of 48 buildings. “We couldn’t do all of these significant projects if it weren’t for the MSBA,” Allen said. The announcement of funding for Worcester’s schools came on Wednesday as part of $17,898,910 in grants the MSBA awarded to eight school districts in the state.


Community brainstorms new uses for vacant schools
-- Payne Schroeder, TheNotebook

Pennsylvania: November 19, 2014 -- The challenge, posed to community members at a charette last week, was to devise, design, and present new uses for two shuttered school buildings within 24 hours. The Community Design Collaborative, a nonprofit that provides free design services; the Deputy Mayor’s Office; and the American Institute of Architects hosted the charette, a term used in design circles to describe a collaborative planning session involving representatives from different disciplines. “It was a long process, finding the sites, finding the community partners, and folks willing to think of it as an option,” said Design Collaborative director Beth Miller of the event, which was held at the Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch St. “I think it’s a long road, but I think there were some great ideas shared and some really great conversations.” The four design teams, each with more than a dozen participants, crafted proposals reimagining uses for two closed School District buildings: the old Frances Willard School in Kensington and M.H. Stanton School in North Philadelphia. The schools were selected for this event because they had not attracted buyers after they closed, said Danielle Floyd, the District’s deputy for strategic initiatives. Each design team included architects, private and nonprofit developers, and community members. M.H Stanton and Willard had two design teams each, responsible for creating a temporary and permanent plan for reuse. Although ideas for both schools tended to overlap (outdoor space for food trucks, urban gardens and gatherings, affordable housing for intergenerational families, and indoor event space for sports and adult education), the Willard designs catered to that community’s specific need for youth programming after the school replaced the neighborhood's recreation center.


Hawaii Public Schools Hire New Leader for the Office of School Facilities and Support Services
-- Associated Press, Star Advertiser

Hawaii: November 19, 2014 -- An Air Force colonel is joining the Hawaii public school system's leadership team. The state Department of Education said Tuesday Dann Carlson will head the Office of School Facilities and Support Services as an assistant superintendent. The department says Carlson will retire from the Air Force on Dec. 1, which is when he starts with the statewide school district. He's leaving his position at the Pentagon as special assistant to the undersecretary of international affairs.


Cuyahoga County school enrollment drops 12,000; schools close
-- DiAngelea Millar, Northeast Ohio Media Group, Cleveland.com

Ohio: November 19, 2014 -- SOLON, Ohio – Solon schools wants to close an elementary school. Strongsville is looking to close two. Parma closed four schools. All because the number of students attending Cuyahoga County public schools is shrinking. "The public school system has been losing students statewide," said Tracy Healy, the head of FutureThink, which helps schools with district planning. "Cuyahoga County has been hit the hardest." In the last decade, Cuyahoga County has lost 12,000 students. Only 11 counties in Ohio gained students, most of them surrounding burgeoning Columbus, said Healy. The drop is owed in part to declining fertility rates -- Ohio's birthrate has dropped ever since 2003, from 14 births per 1,000 women 2003 to 12.6 births in 2012, state records show. "Our culture has changed," Healy said. "Fewer children are more of a norm." The drop in school-age kids is also due to Cuyahoga County's lack of undeveloped land. Because cities are nearly built out, new houses aren't constructed. And these days, older residents without school-age children remain in their homes longer. The housing market is no longer hot. Retirees aren't selling up and out. School districts can't grow.