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CLEVELAND HILL PROJECTFINALLY GETS UNDER WAY

It will be three years until it's finished, but Cleveland Hills Schools' renovation project has finally begun, according to officials.

Voters approved the $28.5 million plan more than a year ago.

Since then, delays in getting state Education Department approval and funding glitches have kept work from moving forward.

Earlier this month, the board accepted architects' recommendations to modify the design. The change cuts back on the size of the pre-K wing, shaving off $1 million to help with expected cost overruns.

But the first phase of work is now under way, said Superintendent Laura Sherwood.

The initial work will include roofing and masonry repairs. The project will continue, year-round, until it is done roughly three years from now.

Before demolition begins for Phase II, there are still some questions about details of the final plan. Cannon Architects also recommended another $1 million of optional cuts to further cushion the budget.

However, Sherwood said architects are now saying to hold off on those possible changes. They said it may not be necessary if the state Education Department makes modifications of Phase II, or if favorable bids come in for that portion of the work.

"It's kind of a question mark right now," said Sherwood. "But if it's at all close -- we might not have to make any other changes."

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