CWRU to make community center out of old Wade Park home


Courtesy of Lee Chilcote

After years standing vacant, CWRU is finally renovating this historic Wade Park home and turning it into a community engagement center: bringing together both students and community members.

Cameron Ward, Staff Writer

Amid the many campus construction projects happening across Case Western Reserve University due to growing class sizes, there comes a bright little spot, located on Wade Avenue. The historic home at 11310 Wade Park Ave is getting a renovation in order to remake the space into a community engagement center. Assistant Vice President of Local Government and Community Relations Julian Rogers here at CWRU described the changes to be made and the goals for the space.

Preliminary renovations on the home started a few months ago following years of debate over what to do with the space. Previously, groups within the university had tried to convert it or demolish it, but all past attempts had failed due to the wishes of the Magnolia and Wade Park Design Review Committee. Much like another familiar situation on Hessler Road, development was halted until an agreement could be made about what the space would look like and how it could function to serve both the university and the community. This resulted in a renovation into a community space that would work both to uplift the community and improve university engagement in the area.

The changes are slow moving but moving nonetheless, as fundraising is still underway with the majority of the funds being fronted by CWRU. An estimated $1-2 million dollars are needed for the completion of the project. Final plans for the space are yet to be made, but architects and interior designers are currently working on initial steps such as asbestos removal, required for the safety of visitors. The final layout will include a conference room and large multipurpose room on the ground floor, with staff offices on the second floor. The first floor will be a hub of outreach and activity, with both the conference and multipurpose room being open to various events, meetings and classes by and for the community. Also on the ground floor will be a kitchenette and a Zoom/telehealth studio, which will provide space for people needing a reliable internet connection to hold their video calls. As funds continue to come in, the outside space will change as well, with plans to include picnic tables, benches and possibly a recreation area.

There is a lot of hope that is being built along with the physical reconstruction of the home. Overall, Rogers said that everyone is “really excited” to see this project moving forward, and hopes this renovation will broaden CWRU’s outreach and engagement with the surrounding community. Whenever the university attended Wade Ave. community meetings in the past, this empty building had been a sort of elephant in the room—a mark on the university’s public face. This space will serve as a central location for the university’s community-facing programs, as the campus can prove sometimes difficult to access. This is hopefully a step in the right direction for the campus to connect itself with the community it seeps into.