Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cool Warrendale Thing: Kosciusko

I posted before about the efforts to renovate and reuse the long-shuttered Kosciusko Elementary School (20220 Tireman St.) as a community center. The Detroit Community Design Center, which is a part of the University of Michigan's College of Architecture and Urban Planning, held a series of community meetings. All of this was done in partnership with the City of Detroit, with support from the Michigan Historical Center.

Over the course of several meetings with neighborhood stakeholders during the summer and autumn of this year, they were able to ascertain the needs of the Warrendale community. They then worked with residents and others to design a concept to adapt this vacant school into something that would meet those needs.

While the architects are still finalizing their plans, and things can still change going forward, I am proud to be able to discuss at least the preliminary details.

One of the shortcomings of the Warrendale neighborhood is that there is a shortage of quality child care facilities relative to the sheer size of its population.  This is why the preliminary plan envisions reusing some of the space on ground floor as a child care facility.  An independent, licensed day care facility would then rent this space in a redeveloped Kosciusko Center.

Also on the ground floor, these conceptual plans call for some of the old classrooms to be made available as office space for either non-profits or local business start-ups.  Each of these tenants would pay some type of rent, which is crucial in covering the utilities and other operating expenses for the building.

A fitness center is tentatively planned for the old gymnasium.  This space could also be repurposed as a banquet facility, if the need arose.

The old auditorium is reimagined as rehearsal and performance space for local artists.  It could also be used for lectures or meeting space for various community groups.



The second floor of this facility is imagined as supporting counseling and guidance resources for troubled or at-risk youth. It would also potentially have a computer lab, library and production studio.

The outside of Kosciusko is almost as interesting as its interior.  Besides having a separate play area for the day care center as well as a football field and community garden area.

Finally, the entire area would be connected to the proposed greenway project that is likely to move through the Warrendale neighborhood.

I need to emphasize, of course, that all of this is still preliminary.  However, the early signs for this project are extremely encouraging in my opinion.

As always, as more details become available, they will be reported on this blog.  Until then, Kosciusko Elementary and its potential reuse as a community center is your Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.

With that, I'd like to open this up for discussion. What do you think of efforts to reuse Kosciusko Elementary as a community center?

Please post your thoughts in the comments section below.
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