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Montessori school planned in former church

STEUBENVILLE — A Montessori school for as many as 25 children ages 3-6 is being planned for the former Christ’s Community Church building at 1300 Maryland Ave.

Tom Crowe and his wife, Noelle, have formed a nonprofit corporation for the school, which they say will feature a sliding scale for tuition and financial aid to overcome any financial hurdles for families who want to send their children to the school.

The Crowes were married in July. He works at the Franciscan University of Steubenville and she went to school there, left the city and returned to get married. Noelle’s family owned a house on LaBelle View for their children to live in while attending Franciscan.

“When I came here, finding work in my field was a little difficult, but this is the training that I have and it’s pretty extensive training,” said Noelle. “I have the training and I thought that if I’m going to live here, can I use it to help out?”

She and her husband said they have an extensive network of friends and university alumni who have offered to help, and they’re finishing the Internal Revenue Service paperwork to set up a fundraising campaign.

The couple offered details about the school following a meeting of the Steubenville Planning and Zoning Commission Monday evening, where their application for a conditional use for the Maryland Avenue building was accepted. The public hearing on the application will be held during the March 5 planning commission meeting.

Tom explained the average Montessori school tuition in Ohio is $8,000 a year. Their target is to get the cost down to $2,200 and, through fundraising, to have a sliding tuition scale based on income that could, in some cases, reduce tuition to zero, he said.

Noelle said there are advantages to the Montessori method.

“This type of education is so great in helping children to learn how to be independent, to learn to do things for themselves, to complete tasks and have pride in that, and they learn how to be together in a community and how to relate to that and respect each other,” she said.

The Crowes said they want to be able to offer an educational opportunity to families that might not otherwise be able to afford it.

In other matters, the commission received a favorable review from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, allowing it to continue to administer HUD grants and programs in the city.

Whitehawk Industries of Akron was the low bidder and received the award of $155,305 for demolition of 236 S. Eighth St.; 2531 Chestnut St.; 510 Linden Ave.; 602 Linden Ave.; 604 Linden Ave.; 1321 Oak Grove Ave.; 1323 Oak Grove Ave.; 1202 Park St.; 316-318 Marsh Alley; 1336-1338 Pennsylvania Ave. (garage); 428 S. Seventh St.; 305 Union Ave.; 315 Union Ave.; 329 Union Ave.; 141 Lovers Lane; and 112 Laila Court.

Bids are under review for demolition of 1107 Cardinal St.; 1126 Claire Ave.; 1205 Claire Ave.; 409 ¢ Henry Ave.; 1424 Orchard St.; 113 Brondos Ave.; 637-639 Lincoln Ave.; 831 Lincoln Ave.; 1207 Lincoln Ave.; 990-992 McKinley Ave.; 1375 Tweed Ave.; 516-516 ¢-518 McKinley Ave.; and 1213-1215-1217 Adams St.

Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi said applications are being accepted through February for the Community Housing Impact and Preservation Program, which allows homeowners who meet guidelines to apply for grants for home rehabilitation.

The March 5 planning commission will include public hearings for the Montessori school application, a LaBelle View neighborhood conservation district and the next Community Development Block Grant program.

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