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Published: Friday, 1/3/2014 - Updated: 9 months ago

Academy wants to move to Y

Horizon looks at Summit St. spot

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A charter school is asking the city planning agency for a zoning variance to operate a K-8 grade school in the YMCA of Greater Toledo’s fitness center in North Toledo.

A request for a special use permit to allow Horizon Science Academy to move its K-8 school into the YMCA at 1500 N. Summit St. is set to go before the Toledo City Plan Commission on Jan. 9.

The request was submitted by New Plan Learning Inc., a nonprofit company affiliated with Concept Schools, a charter school management company that runs Horizon, along with other Ohio and Illinois charter schools.

Horizon Science Academy currently operates a school for K-8 students on two floors of the downtown Secor Building at 425 Jefferson St.

Anna Stewart, an academy spokesman, said the school wants to move into the YMCA building for the upcoming school year that will begin in August.

She said the proposed new location would provide the 270 students enrolled in Horizon Science Academy with larger classrooms as well as facilities for outside recess and other activities.

“It would have an outdoor area and the rooms in the YMCA would be much more spacious,” Ms. Stewart said.

YMCA spokesman Rob Thomas confirmed that the YMCA has agreed to sell the Summit Street building to New Plan Learning.

He said the first phase of the proposed sale agreement would immediately affect the YMCA’s corporate offices, which are located on the second floor of the YMCA building.

A new home for the offices has not been determined.

“Right now we are trying to figure out a place to go,” Mr. Thomas said.

The purchase agreement would eventually require transfer of the entire building to the charter school sometime in 2015 and the phasing out of the YMCA workout center, Mr. Thomas said.

The future of any location for a new downtown YMCA facility has not been decided, Mr. Thomas said.

In recent years, separate plans were announced for the YMCA to relocate the Summit Street fitness center into two downtown buildings.

The first proposal, which surfaced in 2011, was to move the facility into a new parking structure slated to be built next to the vacant Fiberglas Tower.

In 2012, David Ball announced plans for the $16 million conversion of the former Toledo Edison steam plant into a YMCA, a health clinic, and market-rate apartments. The development, to be called Water Street Station, was proposed to include a 13,000-square-foot YMCA with two meeting rooms, two studios, locker rooms, and a fitness area with exercise equipment.

The status of those projects was not immediately available.

Mr. Thomas said the YMCA is open to partnerships with other organizations for a future downtown athletic facility.

“We certainly would like to have a physical presence in the downtown area,” he said. “If there are developers who have an opportunity to collaborate with us that is something we would look into. We would explore those options.”

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.



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