In late March, Detroit Public Schools officials unveiled a plan to build 69 new schools and renovate 50 others by 2006, using money from a $1.5-billion bond initiative voters overwhelmingly approved in 1994.
The district will spend the remaining $1.4 billion of the bond project, which was brought to a halt last summer due to management problems. To date, $100 million on management costs, studies, and minor repairs has been spent.
The original bond plan called for the building of only five new schools.
"We want to emphasize that this bond program, which has floundered for five years, is under way," Detroit Schools Interim CEO David Adamany said as he announced the plan at a news briefing.
The plan will finance less than half of the construction and renovations that the district require. To address the remaining structural problems, the district will have to renew old bonds as they expire.
"There is not a single building in the district that meets a standard of satisfactory. Most of the buildings fall in the range of fair to poor," Adamany said. "At the end of this program, we will have completed about 40 percent of what needs to be done."
The plan calls for the construction of 50 elementary schools for $750 million, 15 middle schools for $255 million, and four high schools for $140 million. The renovations of 50 existing schools will total $175 million, and an additional $75 million will finance special projects.
The new schools will be equipped with air conditioning and technological wiring, Don Shalibo, leader of the new Detroit Public Schools Construction Management Team, told The Detroit News.
The district also will address many of the most outdated aspects of its schools, such as the 34 coal-fired boilers that remain in 17 schools.
"There are more children learning in conditions that are undesirable than there are dollars to address the problem," Adamany said.
Construction will begin this summer on three elementary schools, making them available by the fall of 2001. These schools would represent the first that Detroit has built since the 1970s.
A new management team will oversee the process. The team includes Detroit-based Barton Malow, Consoer Townsend Environdyne Engineers in Chicago, and Spillis Candella/DMJM, an architectural and engineering firm with offices across the country. The former manager of the bond project-A-MAC Sales & Builders, Inc.-now will play a minor role in planning.
On May 15, officials will announce plans for the summer projects, as well as the sites of the first three elementary schools. The district will announce on June 30 the 23 projects that will begin this year. It will reveal the entire plan on Sept. 1.