2011 Exhibition of School
Planning and Architecture
Cincinnati Public Schools Erich Kunzel
Center for Arts and Education /
School for the Creative and
Performing Arts
Cincinnati, Ohio
2011 School Planning & Architectural Exhibition
New Construction
Cincinnati Public Schools Erich Kunzel
Center for Arts and Education
Main Exterior Image
Cincinnati Public Schools Erich Kunzel
Center for Arts and Education
Community Environment
This is the first public K-12 arts school in the
United States and is both publicly and
privately funded. The scope of this project
would not have been possible without the
partnership of the private sector’s
involvement. The administration is always
looking for additional ways to have touring
professionals: artists, performers, musicians
and others, to participate in sharing the
venues provided in this building. Many
parents and other industry professionals
from the community were active in the
organization and planning phases of the
final facility design and functionality. The
Greater Cincinnati Arts and Education Center
(GCAEC), was the private sector partner and
co-donor for the facility. The Core Group of
leadership formed for School for Creative
and Performing Arts (SCPA) were financial
managers, construction managers, and
architects as well as the entire design team
and representatives from CPS and Ohio
School Facilities Commission (OSFC).
The project is expected to serve as a further
catalyst for the neighborhood’s revival.
Upon the school’s completion in 2010, the
City of Cincinnati embarked upon a major
renovation and upgrading of Washington
Park. Washington Park is immediately north
of the school’s site. It is one of the many
examples of facilities renovating and or
upgrading their sites in the immediate
context of the school’s neighborhood. It is
not just a school to attend but it is a viable,
thriving place to learn performing and
visual arts. The faculty’s goal is to fully
prepare and equip the students to graduate
and proceed into a successful career in their
chosen specialty. SCPA is another focal
point in the arts community and is within a
close proximity to the famed Music Hall.
The facility, in a sense, anchors the arts
community on the southern edge of
Washington Park. In addition, students
often host performances or displays
available to the public.
Learning Environment
In an interview just prior to his passing,
Erich Kunzel’s true passion for the dream is
portrayed. The main concept of the building
was to centrally locate it within the
performing community, giving students
easy access to arts professions. Over-theRhine is home to many of the premier art
institutions of the region. Each varying
specialty program has individuals that will
come and participate in sessions to further
enhance opportunities for creative learning
in this environment. No teacher limits the
manner of education available to the
students. If a student finds a way of
instruction that sustains the education
model for the school, it is made available to
them. The staff and teaching faculty are
continually engaged in advancement of
their student’s knowledge and skill set. This
delivers a diversified, creative environment,
producing society’s next performing
specialists. The theatrical students’
production effort is second to none, as the
general public is invited to view the events
housed within the school’s own
performance venues. These types of events
are to train and give opportunities for
each student to test their own viability for
their desired specialty. Coupled with
completion of a production, many
opportunities are presented to further
enhance the student’s preparation for
success in their future. The teaching
faculty at SCPA is consistently made aware
of advancements in technology,
performance specializations and new
techniques of delivery methods. The key to
maintaining success for this school is to
have the leadership of the arts community
serve as members of the school’s
governing board through GCAEC. They
work to effectively lead this school in a
great direction.
Physical Environment
The building is 253,000 sq. ft. Within the
facility are strategically designed areas for
the individual student to actively engage in
the creative learning process. Kindergarten
students have specialized areas to support
arts enrichment education specifically for
their age group. This creates a great
progression of arts education in each
student’s respective area of interest. Music
practice often times occurs in some of the
extended learning areas developed
throughout the building. This crossover of
arts and education lends itself to the great
synergy Erich Kunzel described. High
performance glazing along with high solar
reflective index roofing was used to reduce
cooling loads. Stainless steel and zinc metal
panels utilize recycled content and have a
more than 50-year material life span. State
of the art technologies used for the building
control system assists in reducing excessive
energy consumption.
Respectful of the neighborhood, the
school’s façades adhere to the Cincinnati
Historic Conservation Board’s guidelines.
The surrounding neighborhood’s building
context is primarily masonry construction.
Keeping with this vernacular, the school
has masonry veneer, but to reveal the
contemporary nature of this facility, an
“Urban Curve” was introduced. Stainless
steel organized in a pattern and zinc metal
panels are situated along building’s
exterior façade serving as a counterpoint
to the more traditional brick contextual
façade. The southwest façade curves back
from the masonry context, revealing the
main 750-seat theatre covered in stainless
steel panels. The five-story school also
features a 300-seat theater for more
intimate settings and a flexible black-box
theater. The theatrical spaces are serviced
by a back of house scene shop, costume
design shop, lighting lab and sound studio.
Inspirational and private areas are
contained in the same building to support
both the arts and the academics.
Planning Process
Representatives from Moody•Nolan, CR
architecture + design, Fanning & Howey,
Cincinnati Public Schools, Ohio School
Facilities Commission, GCAEC and Turner
Construction were part of the process.
Stakeholder’s interests were accounted for
in developing the Program of
Requirements. The programmed square
footage was reduced to a 250,000 sq. ft.
total and $10 million was added to the
budget. The planning team also developed
and maintained the cost model for the
budget. Estimates and reconciliation for
the cost estimate at 50 percent and 100
percent stages of each design phase kept
all the spaces on target with the budget.
This enabled the design team to maintain
the desired learning environments for the
students to become reality. GCAEC was
mindful that the Board of Education had
certain criteria that needed to be met for
the education model to be successful. This
co-management and sensitivity fostered
the growth of this private/public
partnership into a fully functioning
project team. Setting up a governance
agreement, to help govern the
administration of SCPA, was one very
successful avenue used for maintaining
the desired results from the private sector
without any sacrifice of academic value
as the school continues to grow in the
future. GCAEC will have seats on the
school’s governing board and will have
input on issues like the hiring of the
Provost and Principal for this school.
Immediate needs and future governing
issues are contained in this agreement
which establishes a new kind of
public/private sector partnership to
support the new SCPA. Throughout each
phase of the project, the core group
continued to meet monthly to keep all
parties accountable to each other from
the planning phase through occupancy.
This method sustained the dream and
vision initiated by Erich Kunzel.
Floor plan
Insert large format floor plan
Note: Please add additional slides for additional floors
Exhibition of School Planning and Architecture
2010 Project Data
Submitting Firm
Project Role
Project Contact
City, State or Province, Country
Lead Architect
Curtis J. Moody, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP
President & CEO
300 Spruce Street Suite 300
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Joint Partner Firm:
Project Role
Project Contact
City, State or Province, Country
CR Architecture + Design
Architect of Record
Christie Boron, AIA, LEED AP
Education Team Leader, Project Architect
600 Vine Street, Suite 2210
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Other Firm:
Project Role
Fanning Howey
Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Technology and Fire
Protection Engineer
Terry Liette
Director of Engineering
540 East Main Street
Celina, Ohio 45822
Construction Manager
Bill Huber
Senior Project Manager
250 West Court Street, Suite 300
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Project Contact
City, State or Province, Country
Construction Firm:
Project Role
Project Contact
City, State or Province, Country
Exhibition of School Planning and Architecture
2010 Project Details
Project Name
Cincinnati Public Schools Erich Kunzel Center for Arts
and Education
District Name
Cincinnati Public Schools
Mary A. Ronan
Occupancy Date
June 6, 2010
Grades Housed
Site Size (acres)
3.2 acres
Gross Area (sq. ft.)
253,717 sq. ft.
Per Occupant(pupil)
176 sq. ft.
gross/net please indicate
Design and Build?
If yes, Total Cost:
All hard and soft costs, excludes land acquisition
If no,
Site Development:
Building Construction:
Fixed Equipment:
$72 million
The late Erich Kunzel discusses working with Curt Moody
(Please click black box to press play)

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