Monday, September 28, 2009

Rumor Alert: Powers High and G.M.

Here's a rumor that's been floating around...my sources claim that Powers High School is eying the General Motors Service and Parts Operations World Headquarters in Grand Blanc as a possible new location. Allegedly, Powers officials have visited the location at 6200 Grand Pointe Drive southeast of East Hill Road and I-475. There's even an unconfirmed report that the bishop paid a visit.

Notice the careful use of the words "rumor" and "allegedly" and "unconfirmed" in this post. But I have to say it would be a sad day if Powers had a street address that combined Grand Blanc and Grosse Pointe. I know it's a good location, but you can't get much more un-Flint than that.

Is the Flint school board positive it doesn't want to let Powers take Central High off its hands? There's still time.

Go here for a Flint Journal Story on the status of the GM building.

Have I mentioned that this is just a rumor?

21 comments:

  1. Seems about as un-high schooly as you can get, too. I really wish they could make the Central sale happen, but methinks they'd rather be by Oakland County anyway.

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  2. Are the deer still on the propery? ... if so, someone better keep an eye on them after those Powers boys move in.

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  3. Hey, what's that supposed to mean?

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  4. The Flint School Board's unwillingness to part with Central really perplexes me. I think they fear that Powers could walk in and expose the lie that it would somehow take $34 million to fix the place up, which the board likes to claim. And then Powers would thrive in the middle of the cultural district, possibly pulling more kids out of the public school system. They'd rather let Central just rot than face that possibility.

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  5. "And then Powers would thrive in the middle of the cultural district, possibly pulling more kids out of the public school system."

    Of course it would. Selling them the Southwestern building would have a similarly negative effect on the Flint public system's revenue.

    From the FBOE's perspective, having Powers move to 475 and Hill would be the best possible outcome, because the Flint public system's revenue loss would be least.

    Regarding SPO...if one goes back far enough, weren't the SPO offices combined with the SPO distribution facility in Swartz Creek? Supposedly the cost of moving the retained staff to an underused GM facility elsewhere would be a barrier to an SPO-HQ sale. If the move was only across town, though, there would be no relocation costs.

    Does GM still own any part of the old Fisher complex on South Saginaw?

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  6. My brother-in-law "currently" works at the SPO building in Grand Blanc. He told me that the site is basically set up as three buildings connected and they're all floors of cubicle cities. In other words, Powers would have to build walls. Lots of walls.

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  7. I've heard of a cubicle-like system that's intended to go floor-to-ceiling, for creation of acoustically separated spaces in an open-plan building. Something like that might allow the existing building to be prepared for school use relatively quickly, assuming that it was otherwise suitable.

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  8. I wonder how much revenue the Flint Schools would be in line to lose even if Powers moved to Central. According to their website, tuition for non-parishioners is $660/mo, which, even factoring in Financial Aid opportunities, seems like a steep hill to climb for most families with kids in the Flint public schools (this is to say, if they can afford something else and care enough to make the move then they already have).

    Rather, I'd imagine it's just good 'ol Flint government provincialism. A shame, too, because 700 Powers kids and their parents in downtown Flint every day most of the year would be a real boon to the city.

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  9. Not only would they need to add a lot of walls, as Andyman notes, but a gymnasium, an auditorium, specialized labs, athletic fields, and while they're at it, how about a walkable urban context, ivy league inspired architectural character, nearby symbiotic connections with academic and cultural resources to rival the best campuses in the country -- in short, just about everything the Central High School building already has.

    The choice should be based on broader criteria than the inevitable contraction of the existing public school system, and seems otherwise straightforward enough for all involved; either gain an ultra-viable new use for one of the most historically significant and proudest edifices in the city, that so happens to be located in the general geographic epicenter of where a condensed but re-invented Flint might eventually arise, or settle for a sterile, isolated, expensive to convert, uninspired school-in-an-office-building solution, that becomes just another great opportunity lost for the students of Powers, the city of Flint, the Diocese of Lansing, and the regiion as a whole.

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  10. What would 28 mil. build on the corner of Grand Traverse and Bristol? The old Holy Redeemer property and buildings is at least a head start with great access and location. unclebuck.

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  11. Yeah, but what about all those HR ghosts they'd have to contend with, unclebuck?

    Come to think of it, I guess that one could go either way ...

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  12. Doug, I guess your right about the ghost aspect. At least Bambi is tangible...unclebuck p.s. GB Tank plant was where the deer used to be.

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  13. As a former Powers student, I would love to see Powers move into the Central High School building. I still can't believe it's closed. Powers should be an integral part of the city of Flint. It should embrace diversity instead of shun it and I think being in the midst of the cultural complex as someone else said would only be beneficial to the students. However the powers that be, pardon the pun, have been trying to move to Fenton for as long as I can remember. I highly doubt they have the same regard for our much beleaguered city as we do. But someone within the diocese should push for this. Flint can't lose Powers too.

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  14. Wait, there are ghosts in Holy Redeemer? i guess there would have to be in that basement.

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  15. I wonder what the Mott Foundation's stance is on the Central building fiasco, and the general subject of the Flint school system and the FBOE.

    It used to be that the Mott Foundation's opinion was pretty important.

    Considering the massive city and foundation investment in the College and Cultural Center, and its historical ties to the Mott estate, it hardly seems conceivable that it could be a desirable outcome to no longer have a high school there, in a city that really only needs one public high school.

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  16. I attended HR and I can remember when there were plans to build Powers on that campus. I still remember the conceptual art that was on display in the church.

    BTW-I'm not a ghost (yet).

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  17. Does this mean that SPO would move back to Swartz Creek?

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  18. As a former SPO employee and Powers Alum I think this is a bad idea. Building is way too large and as many posters have mentioned would have to have extensive work done to make it a high school.

    Would be interesting if a Catholic grade school was also on the property?

    A better building and location would be the Great Lake Tech Center in Burton which GM and Delphi have left open?

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  19. SPO is moving to either Warren or RenCen. Most of the building is empty today.

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  20. I think that Doug's deer comment is about the Deer Park that use to be next to GM Plant in Grand Blanc that was sold for retail development. Service and Parts Operations (SPO, also call the Otterburn Plant) is still in Swartz Creek and will stay. There are other SP warehouse but only one SPO. Service and Parts Division Headquarters is in Grand Blanc Township and is what the blog post is about. The Division HQ was formed by moving Executives from the SPO and GM HQ together. Wished that neighbors to the SPO was so negative to expansion or the Division HQ probable would have been next to SPO. (They were against a 40 job warehouse that might send more traffic down the street. What is traffic from the SPO that was there before them? Now they got a big underdevelopment subdivision and a future park that will bring more traffic.)

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