CLEVELAND -- There's an iconic building on Cleveland's near East Side that's in the midst of being transformed -- and taking the entire neighborhood with it.
A school and new homes are energizing a community, but there's one more piece of the project that could really let people see the possible.
The idea that learning is a lifelong process is a key component to Cleveland's Intergenerational School.
Senior citizens and elementary students come together as part of the school day.
But what makes this really unique is, when these seniors go home, they can simply walk to the other side of the building. Both senior housing and the school were part of the vision when renovating the old St. Luke's Hospital.
"Marrying the concept of the children being educated with the seniors who live here is really exciting to us" said Denise San Antonio Zeman, president and CEO of the St. Luke's Foundation.
The historic building was abandoned in 1999, leaving a void in the Buckeye-Shaker community, but, over the past seven years, neighbors have seen a change.
"They saw this large building come back to life with children and seniors and other philanthropic agencies moving into it. Now it's going to be a connecting point for the entire community" said John Hopkins, executive director of Buckeye-Shaker Square Development Corp.
"It's a $55 million project. We are short only $1 million at this point" said Joel Ratner, president and CEO of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress.
The final part of the project is renovating the former Prentiss Auditorium into a useable space for the school and the community.
"It will be transformed from what was an auditorium to a multipurpose space that will be a gym, a cafeteria and auditorium. I think the term for it is the 'gym-a-caf-a-torium.' That's a mouthful," said Zeman.
"We see it as a comprehensive vision so there will be young kids here for preschool, and there will be K-through-eight kids, and there will be kids after school, and there will be seniors here and concerts in the evening by the school and community meetings, so we think it will get incredible wide usage," said Ratner.
To finish the project, they are turning to the public to raise the funds -- to invest into the neighborhood and to create a place where anything is possible.
"We have already leveraged $100 million dollars outside the footprint of this building in funds to do activities around this building," said Hopkins.
"This last push is ready going to come from people., people who open their hearts and see the possibilities of what can happen here," said Zeman.
If you would like to contribute to the auditorium project, visit http://www.razoo.com/story/Finishsaintlukes#. The St. Luke's Foundation will match your donation. They hope the auditorium will be completed by the 2014-15 school year.