Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Powers Wants to Buy Southwestern High

Forget Holy Redeemer, Powers wants to buy Flint Southwestern.

Kristen Longley of The Flint Journal reports:
Powers Catholic High School has offered to purchase the Southwestern Academy building from the Flint School District, an official confirmed today.

Details of the offer weren't available, but Michael Diebold, director of communications for the Catholic Diocese of Lansing, said Powers wants to relocate to that site, 1420 W. 12th St., south of I-69, from its north Flint location.

"If the offer is accepted, we would certainly move forward, but there is no firm timetable," Diebold said.

Flint School District spokesman Craig Carter said this morning that the school is not for sale.

The move could be seen as beneficial for both schools. Powers has been looking to move further south for more than a decade and the Flint School District has said it needs to close multiple buildings to cut costs and deal with declining enrollment.


  1. would the teams become the Catholic Colts then?

  2. Powers leaving a school built in 1970 for a former public school built in the early to mid 1960's, no doubt probably not as well taken care of as the Powers campus was...

    This is disturbing news.

  3. There aren't a lot of great options for Powers. Their main goal, though, is moving south with highway access, so Southwestern fits their plans in that regard. So spending some money to get the school in shape isn't such a burden. Besides, it's not like Powers is some architectural gem.

  4. Doesn't anyone care about the kids at SWA?
    I think Powers is arrogant beyond belief-and I am a Powers grad.

  5. It appears no one cares what happens to the SWA kids-sad.
    Powers is arrogant to make this offer.
    -from a Powers grad,and Flint SWA parent.

  6. If the archdiocese is trying to attract students from the south part of the county, are 5 miles really going to make much of a difference? Powers is less than 2 miles from the I-475 exit.
    The SWA building is older, probably in greater disrepair, and like Powers is abutted by blight, albeit to a lesser degree.
    Is race part of the issue? Powers is next door to a 100% black high school and lets face it, if you say "north end" in Genesee County what is the first thing that springs to most white folks mind?
    Do the math. SWA is a cruddy utilitarian building, located in a declining neighborhood, within the Flint city limits, and has few amenities that Powers lacks besides a pool and that sweet driving range. A facility the size of SWA will be underutilized unless Powers doubles it enrollment.
    It does have marginally better access for south county (moderately wealthy and white*) students. Is this enough to attract hundreds of students in our current economy? Probably not. Maybe we should break out the rosaries and pray about this 'un.

    * I know, I know. A bunch of you guys went to Powers and are solidly working class. Spare me. Powers kids are rich as hell compared to their neighbors at NW... or kids at Northern, Central, SWA, Choice, Beecher, Hamady, Bendle, Bentley, Mt. Morris, Montrose...

  7. Marfromflint, I wondered about this aspect as well. It will not be a great situation to pull Southwestern kids out of their school.

    And I'm wondering why this move was made public so soon. Couldn't Powers figure out from the school district if they might accept the offer or not?

    And Wurstside, I'm with you on whether this is the answer for Powers. And there's no doubt that race plays a role in this. Something tells me parents from Fenton and Holly might consider Powers when it's located near Miller Road, but would never send their kids to the North end.

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  9. While I'm not naive enough to think that race is not a factor, there is a geography element here that has nothing to do with it - convenience! My commute from Swartz Creek to Powers was far greater than any commute I have had since. Fenton and Holly? That's an even further drive. For many of us, it has always been an issue of a more central location. This would not have been an issue if they had built Powers in central Flint rather than north Flint.

  10. if Powers wants to upgrade, and move in a southerly direction, why stop at SW? why not keep going to grandblank or Fenton? article in the journal tonite said that SW is not for sale.

  11. The first plan was to buy land in Grand Blanc and build a new school, so they did want to go way south. But it appears Powers and the diocese couldn't come up with the money to pull that off. Then came the recession, which made things worse. I think they are looking for cheaper options now.

    And I'm wondering if Powers just did this out of the blue with no interaction with the Flint School District. I guess it's possible, but it seems more likely they floated this with somebody at the district and got some positive feedback before they made this public. I hope they did, at least.

  12. Okay, this is pure conjecture (what are blogs for?) but maybe an offer on the table makes it easier for the Flint School District to close Southwestern. Now they can say, well, we needed to close a school and Powers is offering us something for Southwestern. This could cut down on the flak the district was going to get when they tried to close one of the high schools.

  13. Don't worry, Mayor Mike Brown, the guy who promised to surround himself with experts and "real good thinkers" is vowing to keep Powers in Flint. Nevermind the fact that Powers isn't in Flint, but Mt. Morris Township. Ugh.

  14. Just an observation: the Powers you all knew in the 70's, and 80's is a far cry from Powers as it is now.

  15. Anonymous,

    Good point. I think a lot of us are working from our memories of the school 20 or 30 years ago. If you have time, I'd love some details on how things have changed. Thanks.


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