Thousands of DPS students began the 2011-12 school year in brand-new or extensively renovated facilities, thanks to the completion of a major phase of the district's $500.5 million capital improvement program authorized by a taxpayer bond, Proposal S. Since 2000, DPS has built or renovated 40 buildings -- one-third of its current educational properties.
"The program, which including 10 new schools or major renovations this fall, allowed us, in several cases, to consolidate two or three badly outdated, under-utilized structures into a brand new state of the art facilities, and in other cases to modernize existing schools to accommodate 21st century learning styles," says Jennifer Mrozowski, executive director of communications for the district. "We are also making safety enhancements throughout the district's buildings."
DPS debuted three new schools this year. At the Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School at 3200 E. Lafayette, the $46.4 million build emphasizes a science, technology, engineering and math curriculum, with state-of-the-art upgrades like a media center and cyber cafe.
In Southwest Detroit, young students began another year of school at the new Amelia Earhart Elementary Middle School overlooking Clark Park on Scotten Street; while students from three Brightmoor area schools will be housed under one roof at the Samual Gompers Elementary Middle School on Burt Road.
"The new and remodeled schools, while built in an extremely cost-efficient manner, are designed to provide our students with the same types of facilities you'd find in the suburbs or in private school systems," says Mrozowski, "including features like black box theaters, light-filled classrooms, modernized media centers and dance rooms."
The district has until 2012 to spend the remainder of the Proposal S bond money on DPS building improvements. Still in the works, Mrozowski says, are four more projects, in addition to the 14 renovations or new constructions completed since 2010.
"The district is rebuilding Mumford High, Finney Crockett High, Mackenzie Pre K-8 and Munger Pre K-8," she says, "constituting a major upgrade to our facilities and one of the biggest public works projects in neighborhoods throughout the city."
Find out more about the DPS district-wide improvement plan here
Source: Jennifer Mrozowski, executive director of communications, Detroit Public Schools
Writer: Ashley C. Woods