Hughes STEM High School

Cincinnati City Schools and CR architecture + design for the preservation and rehabilitation of Hughes STEM High School, at 2515 Clifton Avenue in Cincinnati

Ohio’s School Facilities Program has and will continue to have a major impact on hundreds of school buildings throughout Ohio. Some communities have embraced the idea of maintaining and rehabbing their older and historic schools buildings, while others have not. There have been some perplexing and heartbreaking losses, but there have been many saves, with spectacular results.

One such outstanding project is the rehabilitation of Hughes High School in Cincinnati. Hughes is one of the crown jewels of the Cincinnati Public Schools system. Sited at Clifton Avenue and Calhoun Street, the massive building beautifully terminates the view looking west. A Collegiate Tudor masterpiece in brick and terra cotta, with gargoyles and a seven-story tower, the school was built in 1909. The building contains nearly five acres of floor space and 80 classrooms; it was designed to hold nearly 2000 students.

Hughes High School recently underwent a three-year, $40 million renovation that re-awakened its historic character. Highlights included new mechanical systems, ADA accessibility, fire protection and energy upgrades. Restoration work included masonry repointing and extensive repairs to the terra cotta ornament. Drop ceilings and non-original partitions were removed. New wood exterior doors, designed to match others in the building, were installed, replacing older industrial looking metal ones. Many of the wood and terrazzo floors were preserved and the 12 Rookwood-tiled drinking fountains were repaired. The leaded and stained glass windows in the school library were repaired with the support of the Hughes Alumni Association.

Hughes High School is a district-wide magnet school well known in Cincinnati for excellent education programs and the high academic performance of its students. Now, students, alumni and the citizens of Cincinnati can also very proud of the impressive work undertaken to preserve this school building and continue its traditions for many generations to come.

Click here to return to the list of 2013 State Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.

Click here  for a list of past State Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.