DPS Facilities Master Plan to create leaner, more efficient system

Detroit Public Schools will be transformed over the next five years from a district with many under-capacity schools in aging buildings to one in which about 75 percent of all students will attend new or recently renovated schools, under a new Facilities Master Plan released Wednesday.

Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb said the Master Plan creates a leaner, smarter DPS by taking into account citywide demographic trends, school performance, condition of school buildings, operating costs, the new Academic Plan, community partnerships and other factors.

“Most importantly for the residents of the City of Detroit and the parents in the Detroit Public Schools, it invests more than $1 billion in city neighborhoods, including new schools, athletic complexes, health clinics and public spaces,” Bobb said.

The plan:|
Supports the district’s Academic Plan by fully implementing PK-8 programs, developing PK-14 campuses that offer Dual Enrollment and College Suites and creates or expands specialized programs for Arts, Communications, Math, Science and Technology

Cuts operating costs by $31 million in 2010 and ensures lower maintenance costs when newer facilities come on line in the future

Has the potential to invest more than $1billion throughout the city, with the goal of strengthening each neighborhood by closing outdated, underutilized schools and placing students into modernized or rebuilt structures that facilitate 21st century learning

The plan will coincide with the district’s $41 million security plan that will ensure safety and security at every school

Phase I will see the investment of $500.5 million from federal stimulus bonds and Phase II will require a future investment of $500 million.

Bobb said much thought was put into how the plan would be carried out this year.

“This process, candidly, was totally different than the one which we used 11 months ago,” Bobb said. “We simply know a lot more now than we did then. We are, indeed, smarter than we were then – and thanks to the City’s efforts and others, we have considerably more data than we had then.”

The plan calls for the closure of 45 facilities in June, with most programs moving to new or renovated facilities. It segments the district into 16 neighborhoods and special citywide programs for performing arts, special education and alternative education.

For example, the plan takes a citywide approach on fine arts education by creating two PK-8 programs that feed into the new Detroit School of Arts Central, which will be in a new building built to support those programs.

Beckham would become the Detroit School of Arts East – Duke Ellington Campus, while the Detroit School of Arts West – Langston Hughes Campus would be located in a new PK-8 building where Taft and Charles Wright Academy are located. The lower school would be in the Charles Wright building and the upper school would be at Taft. When completed, all three PK-8 Arts Schools will prepare students for entry into the Detroit School or Arts High School.

The Osborn neighborhood will benefit from a $69.5 million investment that will create several new schools. In the first phase, the old Osborn High will be closed and upper school students will finish at Pershing, Denby or other schools. The small schools will move to Brenda Scott, which will house three small high schools with about 300 students each.

Scott Middle School will close and current students will transition through the three high schools, with grades phasing out each year until there are only high school students. The older building on the Law PK-8 campus will be renovated for middle school students.

The second phase will bring a new PK-8 school on the Osborn site. Wilkins and Fleming will close and those students will attend the new school. Pulaski and Trix will close and their students will attend a brand new PK-8 school that will be built at or near the Trix site.

The community will have several opportunities to provide feedback at Town Hall meetings that will be scheduled soon. A final decision on the closure list is expected in mid-April.

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