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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Detroit's Cooley High School - Part 2

September 4, 1928 - June 18, 2010

Cooley High School, 15055 Hubbell, is located at the corner of Chalfonte and Hubbell, just south of Fenkell (5 Mile) in Northwest Detroit. See more of my photos and discussion at Detroit's Cooley High School - Part 1.


This is the parking lot side of Cooley. Photo taken from Chalfonte.

Cooley High School in northwest Detroit was named for Thomas M. Cooley, a former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. He was also the first chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission.


Also named after Justice Cooley: the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, MI and Cooley Elementary School in Waterford, MI.


Nice detail up from the door.



You can see from these photos (and these) that Cooley is one big building and by the end of this post you'll understand why this building will come down.

The back of Cooley.

No more football games at Cooley.

An out-building by the football field looking at the back of the high school.
The grass was freshly cut.

Goodbye Cooley Cardinal.

For an explanation of why Cooley couldn't (and probably shouldn't) be saved see this AllanM page on Flickr.

Here are some excerpts:

"Unfortunately, architectural significance doesn't matter much to Robert Bobb, the emergency financial manager, who is essentially running the entire school district single-handedly.

"The problem with Cooley is complex. The student population, which was once over 3000, has declined to about 1000. Projected enrollment in 4-5 years is something like 600 students in a building intended to house over 3000. Our team tried to come up with some solutions that would have saved the current building, such as mothballing certain sections of the building; however, unlike many other schools, Cooley doesn't really have wings (it's more like a solid block), so you can't just mothball a wing. Keeping Cooley open would have meant decomissioning the first & second floors of the 1960s addition, decomissioning the entire third floor, decommissioning about a dozen additional classrooms, and then building a new kitchen & cafeteria to replace those that are located in the 1960s addition. The school has suffered from years of deferred maintenance (roof, boiler, windows, etc). The most recent bond issue appropriated about $12 million to Cooley for renovations, but $12 million isn't enough to bring the school up to par, and ultimately $12 million in fixes just would have milked the building for a few more years anyhow. The sad reality is that they could have built a new Cooley for the amount of money it would have cost to renovate old Cooley, and there's no reason to do either, because there aren't any students.

"Fortunately, most of the decisions are not mine to make! I worked on the program management team for the latest bond issue ($500 million worth of building improvements district-wide). We were responsible for the completion of the bridging documents, the documents which the design-builders bid on to actually complete the work. It was an eye-opening process for me, and quite stressful, but I learned a lot! We basically just evaluated Cooley, and then gave Robert Bobb our findings. He and his people called the shots, and we weren't surprised when the Cooley project died."

See more of my photos and discussion at Detroit's Cooley High School - Part 1.

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