DETROIT-To boost attendance in the worst school district in Southeast Michigan, Detroit Schools is considering a plan to include a school in the new Campus Martius office block complex Downtown. Robert Francis, director of the Detroit Public Schools capital improvement program, says the district is talking with Kern Woodward Associates, the developers of the mixed-use development about including a 258-student elementary school in the Kern Block, the future headquarters for the project’s largest tenant, Compuware Inc.

“We’re talking about this idea, but it’s very preliminary. It’s one of a hundred ideas we have for the district,” Francis tells

The plan is one of many listed in ways to beef up the schools using a $1.5-billion bond project.

The district would lease space on one of the floors for the school, which would teach to children of Compuware employees.

“This would be a destination school. Not a lot of residents live in that area,” Francis says.

He adds the idea has been tested in cities such as New York and Chicago. However, Francis said he’s not sure about some details, such as outside play areas.

“The idea is wonderful, we’re just working through the concerns now, such as how children could be picked up and dropped off safely,” he says.

Construction is still going strong for the development of the 16-story, $350-million Compuware headquarters. It should open by this time next year. Surrounded by General Motors Corp. Global Headquarters at the Renaissance Center, the Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers sports stadia and three new casinos, Campus Martius will offer office space, hotels, restaurants, covered parking, retail and entertainment space. A 2-acre community park will also be located at the site.

Kern Woodward Associates, awarded the project by the city, consists of a partnership of Schostak Brothers & Company, Sterling Group, and Melvin Butch Hollowell (a Detroit activist and partner in the law firm of Butzel Long).

The following components make up the Campus Martius project:

* Above the present Kennedy garage will be a 15-story signature office building.

* The Hudson Block features a 12-story Class A office building. A world-class hotel is proposed for the Farmer Street side of the block opposite the existing Downtown Library.

* The location for Compuware Corporate Headquarters is the Kern Block, a 1.2-million-sf facility that will occupy a significant portion of the new Campus Martius.

The company is planning to open the 16-story building next year. The Crowley Block will contain the parking needed to accommodate the CompuWare World headquarters, along with street level retail space.

The Monroe Building will feature 12 floors of class A office space, along with retail and entertainment space in this high profile corner of Campus Martius.

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