$15 Million to Develop New University Prep Science & Math High School On Detroit’s Riverfront


DETROIT, May 20, 2009 – The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Thompson Education Foundation and University Prep Science & Math (UPSM) today announced the beginning of renovation and construction for a new high school on Detroit’s near-east side.

The new school will be built in the Riverfront Development District and will be located at 2664 Franklin Street. It will provide a globally competitive education in science and mathematics.

UPSM High School is scheduled to open in September 2010 with 108 students in the ninth grade. A grade will be added each year until it is a full 9-12 high school in 2013. This school will be aligned with UPSM Middle School, which moves into its permanent facility at the Detroit Science Center this September.

The Community Foundation awarded a grant of $1.5 million to New Urban Learning, the non-profit parent organization of University Prep Science & Math and University Prep Academy to support the renovation of the building, which will serve as the home of the new school. The Thompson Education Foundation is contributing the remaining $13.5 million of the funds to cover cost of renovation and construction.

The development of UPSM High School is a key component of the neighborhood development efforts of the Community Foundation’s Detroit Neighborhood Fund. An initiative of the Community Foundation, the Detroit Neighborhood Fund supports efforts that stimulate community development and benefit all those who live and work in the neighborhoods on Detroit’s near-east side, adjacent to the riverfront.

“This new school represents an exciting resource for high school students eager to excel in science and math,” said Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. “It is an important step in building a new neighborhood and stimulating investment along Detroit’s riverfront. This project is one of several that we are supporting through our Detroit Neighborhood Fund, which will build stronger and healthier neighborhoods on Detroit’s near-east side.”

The investment by the Thompson Education Foundation represents the organization’s ongoing commitment to help provide Detroit families with high-quality public school options for their children. This will be the seventh school the organization has either constructed or renovated for Detroit students in the past six years.

“We are delighted to contribute to the exciting development of Detroit’s riverfront, and, in the process, help create a world-class high school designed to prepare students for success in the emerging global economy,” said Bob Thompson, founder of the Thompson Education Foundation. “The future belongs to those who learn the best. We want to make sure Detroit’s students are on that list of the best prepared young people in the world.”

UPSM High School is based on the proven urban school models of University Prep High School, and the Denver School of Science & Technology. The basic elements of the academic program include small, nurturing settings, strong student-adult relationships, personalized learning, a rigorous college-prep curriculum and a school culture that creates college aspirations and the work ethic to get there.

UPSM High School will adapt an existing Albert Kahn-designed, turn-of-the-century factory into a state of the art facility. The school will be 80,000 square feet with 20,000 square feet on each of the classroom floors, and another 20,000 square feet on a newly constructed fourth floor, where the gym, café, conference room and terrace will be located. The school will accommodate approximately 450 students.

“This fabulous riverfront facility will provide metropolitan Detroit-area high school students with the space and technology they need to enter college with a world-class education,” said University Prep Science & Math Superintendent Margaret Trimer-Hartley. “We are committed to graduating at least 90 percent of our students, and then sending at least 90 percent of those students to college with ACT scores above the national average of 21.”

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations committed to the future of southeast Michigan. The Foundation works to improve the region’s quality of life by connecting those who care with causes that matter.  The Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development and civic affairs.  Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $333 million through more than 32,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston counties. For more information, please visit www.cfsem.org.

The goal of the Community Foundation’s Detroit Neighborhood Fund is to help build stronger and healthier neighborhoods on Detroit’s near-east side. Established in 2005 with funding from the Ford Foundation and the Kellogg Foundation, this $15 million fund supports efforts that stimulate community development, encourage collaboration and provide concrete benefits to all those who live and work in this area of the city.

The mission of the Thompson Education Foundation is to help provide Detroit families with high-quality public school options for their children.