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Detroit Public Schools in November will begin demolition work on the former Cass Technical High School, a building that has been subject to vandalism and fires since it closed in 2005.
The DPS Bond Program Evaluation Committee recommended Homrich Wrecking, Inc., a Detroit-based company, to demolish the 830,000-square-foot building. Homrich bid $3.077 million.
Demolition work includes the building, capping off 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, adjacent school for athletics and additional parking. The project will also include targeted salvage of historical artifacts and markers.
“This demolition allows us to remove a structure that has, unfortunately, blighted the neighborhood since closure and has been a danger to the community,” said Robert C. Bobb, DPS Emergency Financial Manager. “But we are pleased that we can preserve various artifacts and bricks from the original Cass Technical High School building to honor the rich legacy of this school.”
The Office of Public Safety has recorded numerous reports of Breaking and Entering in fiscal year 2009-10 at the site of the former Cass Tech. The site has been plagued by numerous fires, including one in 2007 in which two firefighters and two police officers were injured.
The demolition project is slated to start November 1, beginning with abatement and targeted salvage. Heavy demolition will begin in June 2011, after school is out for summer vacation. Completion is slated for August 2011.
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.
Slated to be preserved at Cass Technical High School will be two entry arches, plaques, a relief sculpture and other artifacts.
Also to be preserved are bricks from the demolished school. Detroit Public Schools, in conjunction with the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, has launched 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.
The demolition is being funded through a voter-approved Bond Referendum that enabled the district to access $500.5 million for school capital improvement projects.
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 in 2012 to comply with federal guidelines.
The three-year improvement program also includes district-wide technology upgrades, a new DPS Police Command Center and security initiatives being funded with the Proposal S dollars. Federal regulations stipulate the bond dollars must be spent within three years of the sale of the bonds.