Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016
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Education

Scott High School renovation celebrated

Hundreds attend ceremony after $42M job

Scott-High-School-s-first-black-homecoming-queen

Scott High School’s first black homecoming queen, Janet Quinn-Wyatt, Class of 1957, left, Doris Hedler, Class of 1936, center, and Edith Franklin, Class of 1940, visit at the school’s grand reopening ceremony. Students have been back at Scott since January, so Tuesday was largely about the Bulldogs’ past.

The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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Much has changed since Doris Hedler was a Bulldog.

Scott High School had no flat-screen televisions when she graduated in 1936. The media center wasn't quite as advanced.

But not everything felt foreign Tuesday when the 93-year-old Toledoan sat in the fieldhouse of her alma mater. It's brighter now, the amenities newer, but they brought back the character of the school she remembers.

"I think they did a wonderful job," Ms. Hedler said.

Toledo Public Schools held a grand reopening ceremony Tuesday at Scott, commemorating the renovated structure on Collingwood Avenue after more than two years of work.

Students have been back at Scott since January, so Tuesday was about the Bulldogs' past -- though alumni would likely take umbrage to that designation, since, as alumni association president Avie Dixon and the crowd reminded all, "Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog!"

Hundreds of Scott alumni, neighbors, and friends turned out for the ceremony. Recognized were those who built the school's heritage, continue its tradition, and fought to preserve its past.

Most Toledo schools were reconstructed during the district's $635 million, decade-long Building for Success program, their original incarnations torn down in favor of the newer, technology-friendly versions.

Other schools, closed because of enrollment declines, were simply demolished, without a beta version.

But Scott, the original Scott, was saved, though that fate wasn't always assured.

The school's size -- more than 200,000 square feet -- and cost to renovate it left the building's future in limbo. Alumni and neighbors banded together to push for renovation, forming the Save Our Scott coalition.

The district eventually began renovation after voters in November, 2008, approved a $37 million bond issue. That funding provided local money to match state funds that covered most of the cost of the building's renovation.

Much was said Tuesday about the battle to keep the historic school. Jeff Nelson, a Save Our Scott leader, called the school the jewel of the Old West End, and said when he learned the building might be scrapped, he and the coalition grew determined to preserve the school.

"We fought like hell to do just that," he said to cheers from the crowd.

The new Scott has both old and new school fixtures.

Reclaimed were original features, such as a skylight at the top of the central staircase.

Added was new equipment, such as flat-screen televisions in the hallways.

Students went to the former De- Vilbiss High School during the renovations, which ultimately carried a $42 million price tag.

There's hope that a return to Collingwood stems the tide of shrinking enrollment at Scott.

About a dozen students signed up to return in the week leading up to the move from DeVilbiss, and school staff expect the trend to continue.

Principal Treva Jeffries, herself a Scott graduate, called Tuesday the start of a new era at the school, and said the current students are the reason why the building still stands.

"I embrace the children for which it was saved," Ms. Jeffries said.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086.

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