By Anna Toth
Cleveland State hosted a dedication ceremony on Sept. 20 to welcome the new K-8 public Campus International School to the university’s campus.
University President Ronald M. Berkman, Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon and Mayor Frank Jackson all spoke at the dedication ceremony allowing attendees inside of the new building for a very personal introduction to the school.
The building was originally announced in 2015 and delayed a year from its expected 2016 opening date. At a cost of $24.2 million, the new building on Payne and East 22nd street is expected to house 720 students and is loaded with state-of-the-art features.
“Our students deserve the best resources,” Jackson said, “That includes state-of-the-art educational facilities.”
Students were the main focus of the event, both in statements made and in visuals. Young students peered down at the audience through the railings of the upper floor, while breaks between speeches were filled with music from grade school jazz and string ensembles.
Cleveland State, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and the City of Cleveland united to establish the school in 2010 with the goal of creating better education opportunities for the children of downtown Cleveland.
The new building for K-8, as well as the most recent plans to expand the Campus International High School to 12th grade, are representative of these goals.
CMSD CEO Eric Gordon seemed very enthusiastic and hopeful about the Campus International School despite CMSD receiving low marks on the 2017 Ohio School Report Card right before the ceremony. He brushed them aside — instead choosing to focus on the opportunities that the Campus International School will offer students.
“Campus International K-8 and Campus International High School provide the community with access to an international baccalaureate education and practices that can be applied across the district,” Gordon said.
The Campus International School is the only international baccalaureate-accredited school within the CMSD. The school emphasizes a global perspective when it comes to teaching its students, with all students taking Mandarin as a second language – something that isn’t typically offered at most K-8 schools.
In addition to its global curriculum, the new Campus International School is the only K-8 school in downtown Cleveland. This makes moving downtown a more attractive option for many families.
Rob Spademan, Cleveland State’s chief marketing officer, says that the whole idea to bring a public school downtown was one of Berkman’s first ideas as president. Spademan quoted the President as saying:
“‘If we’re indeed going to build a neighborhood that people want to live in, we have to have a good public school there.’”
Many other people credited Berkman as originally coming up with the idea as well. Berkman himself jokingly addressed the skepticism behind bringing a public school to a university campus, but remained overtly enthusiastic in his speech.
“It also represents the true essence of community engagement, illustrating how two anchor institutions can come together to create an education park in downtown Cleveland,” Berkman said.
CMSD will lease the 2.5 acres of land that the Campus International School district is situated on from Cleveland State for $2.22 million over 50 years.
Some university students might be skeptical about the university’s involvement with CMSD on the Campus International School, instead wanting more of the university’s time and resources going towards things that actually benefit university students. Mayor Jackson remains positive about the collaboration.
“I want to thank Cleveland State University for partnering with CMSD in making this facility a reality and continue to ensure our CSMD students are provided a clear path to higher education.”