UT Students Propose Plans For Old Cleveland Woolen Mill

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - by Randall Higgins
Mayor Tom Rowland speaks with Dr. Ron Coleman, right, and wife Shelley Coleman after the student presentations
Mayor Tom Rowland speaks with Dr. Ron Coleman, right, and wife Shelley Coleman after the student presentations
- photo by Randall Higgins
Architecture students from the University of Tennessee shared with the community Monday their visions of the future for a Cleveland landmark.

Two days before they were to be graduated at UT, the young architects showed drawings of how The Old Woolen Mill could be used in the future to attract people downtown to apartments, art studios, a restaurant, a cafe or micro-brewery and an events center for all sorts of gatherings.

Their various presentations included open spaces for a park or playground, future greenway connections and large windows looking out at a creek.

The students spent most of the past semester working with Dr. Ron Coleman, owner of the property, who is already transforming part of the 1890s era portion of the complex of buildings for additional commercial tenants. Dr. Coleman said he also plans to move and enlarge the existing events center.

"Transforming the old to serve the new, that's what we are trying to do," Dr. Coleman said. 

The Old Woolen Mill study is one part of a year-long partnership between UT and the city of Cleveland. Last year UT launched its Smart Communities Initiative. SCI is part of the university's Service Learning Program. Cleveland was SCI's first local government partner.

SCI gives real world experience to students preparing for a wide variety of careers. During the past academic year, student engineers, planners, architects and others worked with city staff and other community leaders on many projects.

Tricia Stuth, associate professor of architecture, said "the history of Cleveland is something we have come to enjoy and appreciate. The passion that the individuals here have for their city has really impressed us."

Kelly Ellenburg, director of service learning at UT, said one benefit to students working on The Old Woolen Mill project was cooperating with a private stakeholder as well as public officials.

For the architecture students, she said, "it was a particularly satisfying learning experience for them."
The historic woolen mill on South Church Street is being prepared for the future of downtown Cleveland
The historic woolen mill on South Church Street is being prepared for the future of downtown Cleveland
- Photo2 by Randall Higgins

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