By Louis Aguilar
A nonprofit that’s revived one former Detroit public school has set its sights on resurrecting an even bigger target: the former Thomas M. Cooley High School. But two school board members who would have to approve the property sale have already criticized the group’s tactics.
Cooley High opened in the Hubbell-Lyndon neighborhood on the city’s northwest side in 1928, and operated for 81 years before closing at the end of the 2009-10 academic year. It is a massive facility and a three-story Mediterranean-style architectural gem. In 2017, a fire ravaged Cooley’s gorgeous auditorium. It’s also one of 63 empty public school properties in Detroit, according to a recent report by the city and the Detroit Public Schools Community District.
The Detroit nonprofit Life Remodeled, which focuses on revitalizing neighborhoods with the help and cooperation of residents and community organizations, unveiled a $37.5 million proposal Wednesday to buy the 18-acre facility from the school district and renovate the blighted property. Life Remodeled would locate various nonprofits at Cooley, including a pediatric mental health center and vocational college. A new football field would be constructed to provide recreational opportunities in the neighborhood.
The Detroit Public School Community District board would have to approve the sale of Cooley to Life Remodeled, and two members of the seven-person board have already indicated they are skeptical. The pair lambasted the nonprofit for holding a press event announcing its proposal before presenting the plan formally to the school board.
For the rest of the story, check out the BridgeDetroit website.