Unveiling the new SCPA building

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - It was a star-studded night of music and celebration at the brand new home for the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Over-The-Rhine.

Tuesday was an exciting night for so many people. For the students and alumni who performed on stage, to those who were close to the late Maestro Erich Kunzel. Seeing his dream of a world-class arts school in Over-The-Rhine near Music Hall.

Kids, music, the arts. They all came together in celebration of one man's successful vision.

"A vision that has become a reality in this fabulous building," said CPS Superintendent, Mary Ronan.

That vision was combining them all in one school.

"It took a true visionary to link our talented children with a public school system with the private sector to create the first K to 12 arts school in the nation," Ronan said.

Over-The-Rhine has not seen construction of this size and magnitude since Music Hall was built back in the late1800's.

"We were anticipating that this project would be a catalyst for the redevelopment and rejuvenation of the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood," said Tom Klinedinst, Chairman of the GCAEC.

"Oh, he would just be ecstatic," said longtime friend Norma Petersen. "It really was his vision, his dream."

Petersen met Kunzel back in 1965 and they became friends for life.

"He knew the value of volunteers and was very supportive and that was when I first got to know him," Petersen said.

And in the early 70's, when the school was in its infancy, Petersen said Kunzel had a great idea.

"He got very excited because he wanted to be involved to give students opportunity with the arts," Petersen said.

And with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Petersen said Kunzel came to conducting by sheer moxy.

"He was a pianist in his high school and when the instructor was late coming in for practice," Petersen said. "Erich got up to the podium and picked up the baton and said we're not gonna wait any more let's get going and that was his first conducting job. He was never one to feel that his name needed to be on anything."

But hundreds of others who knew Kunzel felt otherwise. Now, his name blazes across the front of the school. At this new location on Central Parkway, the Schiel Primary School for the Arts and SCPA are combined and there are all sorts of innovations.

"When you walk in a room the lights come on. No motion, no light so it's a money saver for the school district," said Jan Leslie with the GCAEC.

Bathrooms are in the kindergarten classrooms, so,"No more hall passes," Leslie said.

From the gleaming dance floor upstairs, to the spacious views from the science lab. "It's very exciting," said Freshman Brandon Bailey.

Students can't wait for fall.

"Well it's my Junior year so I'm looking at a lot of schools right now and I'm hoping to break out into film and TV."

There are still some projects to be finished, before the school officially opens in August.

A grand opening will be scheduled once classes get underway next Fall.

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