DPS to launch brick preservation program and fundraiser

Detroit Public Schools, in conjunction with the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, will launch a program to preserve and restore bricks from selected schools being demolished, allowing the artifacts to be sold to raise funds for schools.

Bricks from Cass Technical, Finney, Mumford and Chadsey high schools will be preserved. Contractors will be responsible for removing the bricks from the sites, and the DPS Foundation has committed to securing a private firm that will package the bricks for fundraising.

“We think this is an important program to honor the legacy and history of these schools, while also acknowledging that students deserve facilities that support 21st century learning and aiding schools by providing needed funding for supplemental programs,” said Chacona Johnson, President and CEO of the DPS Foundation. “We hope the alumni and the dedicated faculty and staff who taught and provided services in these buildings will participate in this fundraising effort.”

The money raised from the preservation program will go to the Foundation and will be used to benefit programs in the individual schools. Auction of other items being salvaged are also being planned. More details will be provided in the coming weeks. For more information or to learn about the brick preservation program, contact the DPS Foundation at (313) 873-3348 or email info@detroitpsfoundation.org

In conjunction, the vacant Cass Technical High School, an approximately 830,000 square foot building that has been subject to vandalism and fires since it closed in 2005, will be demolished, beginning with abatement and salvage activities this summer. The Office of Public Safety has recorded numerous reports of Breaking and Entering in fiscal year 2009-10. The site has been plagued by numerous fires, including one in 2007 in which two firefighters and two police officers were injured.

Demolition includes the building, above grade utilities, underground utilities, sidewalks, curbs and gutters. The site is to be backfilled, graded and seeded. The demolition will make way for use of the site by the existing school for athletics and additional parking.

Over the course of the demolition, the district will adhere to strict guidelines of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to ensure the health and safety of nearby residents and students in the adjacent new Cass Technical High School, a 402,000 square-foot state of the art facility for 2,174 students that opened in 2005.

Also slated to be preserved at Cass Technical High School will be two entry arches, plaques, relief sculpture and other artifacts.

The demolitions are being funded through a voter-approved Bond Referendum that enabled the district to access $500.5 million for school capital improvement projects. DPS received the 6th largest allocation in the nation.

The DPS School Construction Program will build seven new schools. Eleven more will receive extensive renovations or additions. All 18 schools are scheduled for completion by September 2012 to comply with federal guidelines.

The three-year improvement program also includes district-wide technology upgrades and security initiatives being funded with the Proposal S dollars. Federal regulations stipulate the bond dollars must be spent within three years.

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