Our high school bridges past and present. Originally constructed in 1926, it still serves the needs of our communities’ children today. The Heights High clock tower has become the symbol of the Cleveland Heights – University Heights City School District and a renowned landmark to our region. It is important that this multigenerational symbol be maintained and restored to a condition that will help it stand for years to come.
With Cleveland Heights High School recently celebrating its 100th graduating class, students have seen many changes to the home of the black and gold.
Over the years, additional classrooms were added to the west wing soon after the building’s construction to accommodate growing enrollment. In place of a second high school, a science wing, gymnasium, and swimming pool were added in the 1960’s. In the 1970’s, a wing was added for career and technical education courses. Since then other changes included a renovationof the auditorium and the installation of energy efficient windows that moreclosely resemble the original ones. Recently, classrooms replaced the library after it was moved from the third floor to the first. Part of this renovation’s goal was to reviveand emphasize some of the original architecture of the building,
including arched ceilings and the reopening of skylights that were previously covered up, bringing daylight into the halls.
Since opening in 1926, Heights High has undergone many changes over the years.
The one constant has been the clock tower.
The NeedWe need to act now to reverse the severe deterioration that has already occurred.Located atop the oldest portion of Heights High, the clock tower was originally built in 1926. With views not only of downtown Cleveland but also Lake Erie, it is 92 feet above the ground. Constructed of wood over a steel frame, time has taken a greater toll than when students pasted Mickey Mouse on the clock face.
Significant damage to the clock tower has already occurred from years of exposure to wind, rain and inclement weather. Flaking, cracked and peeling paint have given way to exposure of the exterior wood frame. Now, the wood is beginning to rot and deteriorate. In several places, the deterioration has allowed moisture to penetrate inside the clock tower and attack its interior steel frame. This has considerably increased the damage to the entire structure.
In previous years efforts have been made to address the cosmetic problems, but this work did nothing to maintain the internal structure of the clock tower.
The damage is severe, but can be corrected through an approach that addresses both the exterior wood frame and the interior structural elements.
Over the years, the School District has systematically maintained the infrastructure of the entire building through the installation of new windows, roofs and interior upgrades, but limited resources have not allowed for any repairs to the clock tower beyond touch up paint jobs.
The Project A Project to Maintain a Piece of History
Restoring the clock tower will be a challenging project because of its height and limited access. A complex system of scaffolding must be built from the courtyard to the roof to provide workers access so they may disassemble the clock tower and begin restoration.
Another obstacle is the absence of detailed blueprints. Lost in the 80 years since Heights High was built, workers will have to formulate a design of the existing structure and custom fabricate the correct pieces and parts to match the original specifications.
Before the clock tower exterior is re-installed, the steel frame will be refurbished, reinforced, and sealed. An effective drainage system will be installed and watertight roofs and brickwork will be restored.
The final product will be a restored clock that will keep the time and light the night.
The Goal Working Together to Meet Our Goal The estimated total project cost is $400,000. The Cleveland Heights – University Heights City School District and the Alumni Foundation plan to pool their finances to reach this goal.
The Alumni Foundation seeks to raise $250,000. This is the portion of the cost needed to renovate the clock tower. The District will cover the remaining expenses that encompass the work to secure the building envelope, install scaffolding, and keep the construction area safe.
The Alumni Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and donations are tax deductible. Donations of all sizes are welcome and those of $500 or more will be acknowledged in the lobby of Heights High as part of a new Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame display.
Challenge Grant!! The Alumni Foundation has received a pledge of $50,000 towards this project, but to activate it we need to match it. One hundred new donations at $500 will allow us to do this. This combined $100,000, along with existing donations, means we will reach 75% of our goal and will be ready to move forward with our final fundraising efforts.
|Own a business in the building trades? Contact us at 216-397-3871 about making a material or in-kind donation to the project.