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City of Cleveland to buy South High School from CMSD; building to become training center for first responders

The school will become a joint training academy for Cleveland police, fire and EMS.

CLEVELAND — Editor's Note: The above video is from a previously published story about the CMSD.

Cleveland's South High School, shuttered since 2010, will soon have new life.

On Monday, Cleveland City Council approved legislation to buy the building from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and turn it into a joint training academy for Cleveland police, fire and EMS.

The CMSD Board of Education approved the sale in June for $435,000, with credit for improvements to areas used by the district. 

The city plans to transform the empty building, more than 250,000 square feet, and adjacent property into a public safety training academy. The two-story building includes underground and outside parking, a large auditorium, inside track and gymnasium and outdoor football field, and has enough space to allow training sessions for police, fire and EMS.

The legislation also authorizes leasing back a portion of the building to the school district. Since the closing of South High School in 2010, CMSD has used a portion of the building but does not need the entire building. With the new "public safety campus," the former high school can also accommodate a youth vocational program in partnership with CMSD.

City leaders say that police and EMS academy classes have traditionally been conducted in just a few classrooms at their respective headquarters, while the Cleveland Division of Fire holds its classes at the city's Fire Training Academy. "It has been the goal of the Public Safety to expand into a space where divisions would have enough classrooms and parking to schedule both cadet and recruit basic training, inservice training, and specialized training. South High School has sufficient space to allow for a Public Safety Training Academy for Police, Fire and EMS," Mayor Frank Jackson's office said in a legislative summary.

There is also the hope that with the facility being located in Slavic Village, the Department of Public Safety will be able to draw potential candidates from city neighborhoods.

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