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Scott High School will look nearly the same on the outside, with a little cleaning and restoration, but inside will be another story.
The small classrooms with chalkboards and other outdated equipment will be swapped with state-of-the-art technology and a clean, modern look.
The community got its first glimpse yesterday of what renovation of the historic school in the Old West End will be with the first of four community design meetings.
More than 50 people came to learn about the initial plans to renovate the more than 200,000-square-foot building into one for today's students.
"In essence we're building a new school within an existing school," said Joe Kunkle, an architect and planner for SSOE Inc., the architectural firm for the project.
They've heard the community's desire to restore the grandeur of Scott and are planning accordingly, he said.
"We'll recreate a modern school in a timeless structure," Mr. Kunkle said.
It's still early in the process and that's why the architects wanted to hear from the residents now before the plans are drawn up. Other meetings are planned for March 12, April 2, and May 7.
During the nearly two-hour meeting, Mr. Kunkle and his colleague, Keith Riley, who is the project architect for Scott, spoke about the overall plans for renovation, took questions, and broke it up into smaller groups to brainstorm Scott's future.
"It's a very daunting project. It's a big school and it's a lot of work, but it's doable," said Jeff Nelson, a leader with the Save Our Scott coalition that worked to get the building renovated rather than have Toledo Public Schools buildtwo small high schools.
The possibility of a renovated Scott was in question for some time because of the size of the building and cost to renovate it.
It was put back into the district's Building for Success building campaign after a $37 million bond issue was approved in November.
About $5.8 million of that is expected to go toward Scott renovation with the Ohio School Facilities Commission paying the remaining cost, which is estimated at a total of $38.9 million.
It was a long road to get to where they are now, but there's excitement going forward with the planning, school board member Darlene Fisher said.
"What I feel is a great excitement in this room for a revitalization of this school," she said. "There's an attitude that there may be more obstacles, sure, but how do we overcome them and make a viable project we can all support."
Many in the crowd yesterday were alumni and community members.
Superintendent John Foley said that's important, but he'd like to see more parents and students give their input too.
"My hope is we'll get more parents in here because we're building this for their kids," he said.
The goal is to complete the restoration of Scott, which opened in 1913, in 2011.
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