University of Michigan establishing Detroit Center at Orchestra Place

April 28, 2005

University of Michigan establishing Detroit Center at Orchestra Place

DETROIT—The University of Michigan is establishing a new 10,500 square-foot U-M Detroit Center on the ground floor of Orchestra Place. The facility, set to open this fall, will provide a home for dozens of longstanding programs while opening the door to increased or expanded U-M involvement with the community.

“The University of Michigan was founded in Detroit in August 1817, and we have remained committed and connected,” said U-M President Mary Sue Coleman. “Providing a home for our many Detroit projects in the heart of the city’s cultural center makes us far more visible and accessible and enables us to be a part of its revitalization. We look forward to the way this center will strengthen the partnership between U-M and Detroiters.”

Eighteen U-M units will participate in the center. The facility will provide offices and space for classes, meetings, exhibitions, lectures and collaborative work while serving as a home base for students and faculty working on projects in Detroit.

Anne Parsons, president and executive director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, said:  “In welcoming the University of Michigan to our ‘campus,’ the DSO is achieving one of the primary goals that we sought when creating Orchestra Place: to revitalize the Orchestra Hall neighborhood and stimulate new development. The breadth of U-M activities that will take place here is thrilling, furthering the development of this part of the Woodward corridor as a cultural and educational Mecca.”

University faculty, students and staff currently commute from Ann Arbor to work on projects without the benefit of a central headquarters within the city. The lack of academic work space in Detroit also made it difficult for U-M to share information about the broad spectrum of activities the University holds in Detroit.

The center will complement U-M’s existing Detroit Admissions Office, located on the fifth floor of 3031 W. Grand Blvd. in the city’s New Center area as well as the Legal Assistance for Urban Communities office the U-M Law School runs at 8109 E. Jefferson Ave. U-M has also owned a portion of the Rackham Building, at 60 Farnsworth St., north of Warren Avenue, for more than 60 years. That space has been leased to nearby Wayne State University since the early 1990s.

Examples of the kinds of programs that will be located in the Detroit Center include technology initiatives spearheaded by Larry Gant, of the School of Social Work, whose work includes the Center for Urban Innovation, a partnership with Detroit community organizations seeking to provide access to wireless technology for the entire city. The Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning will use the center to prepare for its annual Detroit Design Charrette that brings 60 or more students to the city for four or five days each January. The School of Art and Design will host its “Detroit Connections” program in the Center, as it works with city elementary schools on a variety of art projects.

Orchestra Place

The University of Michigan in Detroit: A sampling


Orchestra PlaceThe University of Michigan in Detroit: A sampling