Detroit Tearing Down 10 Vacant Schools

By Dakarai I. Aarons — March 24, 2010 1 min read
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Detroit’s public school system is tearing down 10 vacant schools this spring and summer in an effort to help clean up neighborhoods and reduce crime.

As the school district’s enrollment decreased by approximately 80,000 students over the past 10 years, buildings have been closed. But in many cases, they were not properly secured, with computers, textbooks and even student records left behind.

Not only is the district trying to get rid of the eyesores, which have been featured in publications across the nation (including ours), it also using this as an opportunity to create jobs in the economically depressed city. About 107 new jobs are expected to be created as a result of this nearly $2.8 million demolition project, which is being funded using money from a 1994 bond, the school district said.

“These demolitions are an all-around positive development for the city,” Robert C. Bobb, Detroit public schools’ emergency financial manager, said in a written statement.

The district closed 29 schools last fall and plans to close more than 40 this fall. Some buildings will be sold, while others may be adapted for another use.

Check out below a video I co-produced last summer for views inside one abandoned school. That school building, Jane Cooper Elementary, was sold to the city.
Decline and Fall from Education Week on Vimeo.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.