Clifton Cultural Arts Center moving forward with first phase of $11M renovation project

After only one year in their Clifton Avenue location, the Clifton Cultural Arts Center is working on an $11 million renovation plan that would allow the center to expand its offerings and incorporate modern amenities into the 104-year-old Clifton School structure.

"We're currently only able to use about half of the space as a result of the work that needs to be done in order for us to use the rest," said Ruth Dickey, Executive Director, Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC).

The CCAC was a welcome addition to the neighborhood when the historic Clifton School became vacant in 2006.  The idea for the CCAC originated out of neighborhood input from a series of community engagement sessions in 2004 - community members wanted to see something done with not only the Clifton School building, but also the adjacent McDonald Estate Carriage house which they have a 50-year lease on.

Dickey estimates that the entire $11 million scope will take place over three to five phases, but will ultimately depend upon fundraising.  So far the CCAC has raised around $1.5 million from a $250,000 State of Ohio grant, $250,000 City of Cincinnati grant, and $1 million from an anonymous donor.  All in all, it is enough to cover the costs of the first phase of renovation work.

Phase 1 work will be managed by Cincinnati-based Turner Construction and includes a new elevator, fire protection system, and a new entry.  The completion of Phase 1, anticipated by Fall 2010, will allow the CCAC to utilize the top floor auditorium and gymnasium space.  Phase 2 includes new air conditioning, electrical and heating systems and will begin once money is raised.

"With the improvements we hope to expand our class, exhibit and event offerings for the Clifton and Uptown communities," said Dickey.  "This is a great community asset that extends far beyond the reaches of Clifton and Uptown though, and is an asset that should be embraced by all of Cincinnati."

If you are interested in donating to the Clifton Cultural Arts Center (map) you can do so online, or by calling (513) 497-2860.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Scott Beseler
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