$35 million Hughes High School renovation restoring Uptown landmark

In September of 2008, work began on restoring Hughes High School located prominently at the western terminus of Calhoun Street in Uptown Cincinnati.  The nearly $35 million project is still underway with an anticipated completion date of fall, 2010.

The work drawn up by the team of Cincinnati-based firms C+R Architecture and Design, Fanning Howey and Moody Nolan is extensive from the reprogramming of space and functions, to facade restoration and upgrades to the interior of the building that will house 1,200 students in grades 9 through 12.

Once complete all programs will be consolidated into the original Hughes building at Clifton Avenue and McMicken Street.  The 1920s addition will be "moth-balled" and made available for future expansion while the 1970s building will be “de-commissioned” notes facilities director for Cincinnati Public Schools, Michael Burson.

Inside the original structure, crews have been working on replacing all of the plumbing and electrical systems and have installed a new central air-conditioning system which was not present before.  New technology upgrades have also been made to bring the school building up to modern standards. The school features rooms focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics - areas of focus due to Hughes’ proximity and partnerships with the University of Cincinnati.

The roughly 150 construction workers who have logged a total of 180,058 hours on site have also been busy building a new kitchen space, renovating the school’s auditorium and replacing all of the windows which will greatly improve the building’s exterior appearance, says Burson.

Also noteworthy is the repair and renovation of the leaded glass windows inside the school’s library which the Alumni Association helped to provide.  Burson says that many terracotta pieces are being replaced and that the Krueck Center will become ADA compliant following the installation of a new elevator and ground level access.

“The historic structure is being transformed to respond to today’s educational needs,” says Burson who hopes that the many alumni of Hughes High School will be proud of the preservation of the historic icon and landmark in Uptown.

CORRECTION: A previous version stated that the 1920's addition would be torn down.  In actuality the addition will be "moth-balled" and made available for future expansion.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Scott Beseler