Cleveland architectural firm Walker and Weeks is credited with the completion of the Board of Education building in 1931 on the east side of the Cleveland Mall. The building is one of six contributing to the Mall and completes the Group Plan of Cleveland of 1903, the earliest and most fully realized plan for a major city outside of Washington, D.C.
The building is similar in nature to the other buildings on the Mall. Walker and Weeks designed the building in the Classical, Beaux-Arts style, which is characterized by arched windows and doors, Classical details, symmetry, statuary and art.
A statue of Abraham Lincoln by Max Kalish, a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art, sits on the west side of the building. District schoolchildren paid for the statue, which includes The Gettysburg Address at its base.
The two-story lobby features two fully restored murals painted by Cora Holden in 1931. Both “The Progress of Education” and “The Branches of Education” measure 12’ x 16’. Rolf Stolls also painted two murals, which have also been restored, in the auditorium.
Drury Hotels began the preservation and restoration of the building in 2014. The stage in the auditorium remains, and the rest of the auditorium has been transformed into meeting space. The original board room, where the Board of Education first held and continued to hold their board meetings, has also been transformed into a meeting space. The original table from the board room has been refinished and kept on-site and is on display in the third floor hallway in the area of the former superintendent’s office.
The former library has been preserved; the wooden shelves lining the hand-painted linen walls have been restored and remain part of the now 900-square-foot executive king suite. The suite also boasts a conference table for meetings.
The copper roof was replaced with copper in 2016, and the original windows were removed, restored and re-installed. The remaining historic doors, door casings and light fixtures were also removed, restored and re-installed on historic floors (floors one through three). The remaining marble was salvaged, reconditioned, cleaned and put back in place on these same floors. Any historic remaining exit signs that were salvageable were restored and re-used throughout the building.
The hotel is located across the street from the FirstMerit Convention Center of Cleveland and the Global Center for Health Innovation. It is walking distance to the FirstEnergy Stadium, where the Cleveland Browns play; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum; the Great Lakes Science Center, Progressive Field, where the Cleveland Indians play; and the Quicken Loans Arena, home of the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers, the AHL Lake Erie Monsters, the AFL Cleveland Gladiators and entertainment.