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Two Detroit classrooms get designer upgrades thanks to City Year Detroit partnerships with dPOP, Gensler

City Year_Osborn Rendering

It’s hard to learn to the best of your ability when the room that you do it in is falling apart or uninteresting. To counteract this, the design firms of dPOP and Gensler are redesigning two Detroit schools that work with City Year Detroit. The program is part of City Year’s nationwide efforts to improve and beautify its classrooms across the country.

The first project was a resource room redesign at Noble Elementary-Middle School, led by dPOP, was revealed in April.

“The generosity of the dPOP and Gensler teams on these projects cannot be overstated. The time, hard work and creativity they’ve invested for the benefit of Detroit’s students is remarkable,” says Andrew Stein, executive director, City Year Detroit. “We are fortunate to have vibrant spaces to share with students – spaces that will foster the growth our corps members work so hard to achieve each day. The impact of these partnerships will resonate beyond the projects, and help demonstrate our commitment to the well-being of the students we serve.”


Noble plan includes an updated floor plan and layout

Noble’s upgrade includes an updated floor plan and layout, new paint, new carpet and donated furniture, as well as two decorative vinyl wall coverings, white boards, and a new kitchen space. It should be finished late this month.

“At dPOP we understand the importance of an attractive, functional workspace in promoting positive energy and productivity,” says Melissa Price, CEO, dPOP. “To have the opportunity to support our city’s students with our work is a great privilege, and we’re proud to contribute to this partnership with City Year.”

City Year Osborn Rendering

City Year Osborn Rendering

Gensler’s collaboration with Osborn Collegiate Academies began back in November 2016. They discovered the needs through workshops with the students to gain their input and then added their internal brainstorming techniques and coordinated materials and furniture selection with vendor partners.

The result was a dual-purpose space allowing for both mentorship and individual work with a focus on further developing high schoolers.

A long-time partner of City Year, Gensler has helped renovate and reinvent spaces in schools around the country using a similar approach.

“As designers and strategists, we seek opportunities to have impact, which is why we love to partner with City Year, whose mission is to help children reach their potential through education. The Osborn mentor and collaboration space in Detroit is a perfect fit for us,” says John Waller managing director, Gensler. “Specifically, we were most excited to workshop with the students and corps members to understand what makes the space and the school uniquely their own.”

These two schools are only part of a much larger goal by City Year to upgrade schools in underserved schools across the country.

Other cities with schools that have gotten the City Year treatment include New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Washington, D.C. oftentimes with Gensler aiding them.

Learn more about the work conducted by City Year Detroit by visiting

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