DETROIT (WWJ) – The lights went out Thursday at Wayne State University, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the main branch of the Detroit Public Library.

School was canceled at several Detroit Public Schools due to blackouts, and all students in the district will be dismissed one hour early due to power problems.

WWJ Newsradio 950 spoke with Detroit Public Schools spokesman Steve Wasko.

“We felt it prudent to do this because there are a growing number of schools that are failing on the city power grid today,” said Wasko. “We were north of 24 schools so we made the decision and the number of schools just kept growing.”

Wasko said he doesn’t know what might be causing the power failures.

“You’d have to talk to the city and the public lighting department to determine that. All we know is it’s affecting our schools … It’s somewhat unpredictable, hitting all corners of the city and our schools that are on the public lighting department grid,” he said.

Wasko said it’s unfortunate that this would happen during the first week of school, but it is out of their control.

Parents were informed of the early closure by phone. Wasko said they’re awaiting word from the Detroit Public Lighting department before deciding whether there will be class on Friday.

The closures come as Detroit Schools are struggling to increase their ailing enrollment. “It just comes at a bad time and we’re sickened by it. But, given again the number of schools that were affected today, we didn’t feel like we had a choice in terms of safety,” Wasko said.

WWJ’s Vickie Thomas spoke with Detroit City Councilman James Tate about what he called “huge problems” with Detroit public lighting. (Read more, here).

A spokesperson for Wayne State said their lights were back on as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

The DIA was closed Thursday afternoon due to the outage.  Patrons planning to visit are asked to call (313) 833-7900 to find out if the building has reopened.

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