Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
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Architect will tweak Gunckel school plan

A plan to put a new Libbey Middle School and a popular community center under one roof lacked the details some area residents said they want to see before it gets built by Toledo Public Schools.

School officials outlined a proposal for the Family Investment Center and the new middle school last night. About 50 people attended the meeting. The combined-use building, at Nebraska Avenue and Collingwood Boulevard, is on the site of the former Gunckel School.

However, some residents meeting at the Gunckel School annex balked at the plans. An architect designing the school said he'll go back to the drawing board to sketch in details.

“I would like to salvage the design and add some elements to it,” Dan Tabor said. “Hopefully, we can take what we started and add. I hope it is that easy.”

Residents said the building's design didn't show how adults, some of whom visit a drug and alcohol program at the center, would use the building along with middle-school students.

The design would separate adults from pupils, by putting the center in a wing closed off from the rest of the building or by placing doors between the two groups that can be locked, school officials said. But specifics were unavailable.

The school district wants the middle school built because it's in an area that has new and renovated housing. It is part of the district's $821 million school construction project.

The school plan avoids taking any acreage from Gunckel Park, an adjacent seven-acre city-owned park used for sports programs, including the Scott High School baseball team.

Gunckel School closed in 1982, but about eight years ago, the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority leased the school's annex for a community center, which also has a health clinic, a computer training program, and a GED program and offers other services.

Up until this week, architects were not designing the 80,000-square-foot middle school with a community center as part of it. They have begun considering how to add the center since city and LMHA officials have asked. LMHA has been scouting for space should it not be included in the school.

Larry Gaster, executive director of LMHA, said the center has been popular with LMHA tenants and other nearby residents. It has spent up to $1.5 million to refurbish and operate the center. It needs 15,000 to 18,000 square feet, he said.

“We want [the center] to remain in the neighborhood,” he said.

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