Far above the winding staircases in the center of Scott High School, a gaping hole gives visitors a view to the roof.
Skylights that were part of the school when the building opened nearly 100 years ago will be resurrected when a totally renovated Scott reopens in January, 2012.
Dropped ceilings that for years covered the tops of the 10-foot windows have been removed, revealing the full windows that give Scott its characteristic look as motorists pass the old school on Collingwood Boulevard.
And in the fourth-floor "refectory" that once served as the school's cafeteria, stained-glass windows that were covered over years ago are now revealed.
"All of the structural old features will stay," Ron Miller, who oversees school renovation and construction projects for Toledo Public Schools, said during a tour of Scott yThursday. "Actually, our emphasis is on uncovering the old and bringing it back."
That's just what Scott supporters such as Jeff Nelson want to hear.
Mr. Nelson helped lead the effort to "Save Our Scott" when TPS was considering demolishing it to build two smaller high schools.
"We're very excited, and there are quite a few naysayers in the community who either don't believe it's being renovated or they're sure they're going to do a shoddy job," Mr. Nelson said.
Lisa Sobecki, vice president of the TPS board and chairman of the buildings committee, said she invited the media to Scott to see the progress and let the community know the $42 million project is under way and, so far, on schedule. "I want the public to see that we are renovating Scott High School and we are doing what we said we were going to do," she said.
The Ohio School Facilities Commission is paying 77 percent of the cost, with local funds coming from a $37 million bond issue approved by voters in 2008. In addition to renovating the 259,000-square-foot school, the football stadium and track behind Scott are being turned 90 degrees and rebuilt.
Scott's 780 students are attending classes at the former DeVilbiss High School, but if the project remains on time, they will move back to Scott in January, 2012, Scott Director Treva Jeffries said.
Ms. Jeffries, a 1992 Scott graduate, said it's exciting to see her alma mater come back to life, though she admits its English Gothic-style architecture was lost on her during her four years of high school there.
"I loved my school. I loved the spirit and the tradition and the pride, and that's why I came back to Scott to try to ensure that we hold onto that tradition, that pride, and the spirit," she said.
Ms. Jeffries said she thinks the renovation will serve both her students and the Old West End neighborhood where Scott is located. When the work is done, Scott will be handicapped-accessible, air-conditioned, and technologically up to date.
"I think it's going to be nice," Ms. Jeffries said. "I think it's an opportunity to make sure that the community that wanted to save the building has the nostalgia intact and then those who want to make sure we move into the 21st century also have the opportunity to engage in 21st-century schooling techniques."
Mr. Nelson, who was not on Thursday's tour, sits on the Scott Renovation Oversight Committee, which has gotten regular updates on the project
He said he's thrilled with the project even though state rules and regulations prohibit some valuable features from being retained, such as the old wooden classroom doors.
"There are certain compromises that have had to have been made which make me sad as an architectural purist, but ... I think they're making every effort they can within the budget they've got to really do justice to this beautiful old building," he said.
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