Shuttered historic Cooley High School suffers from vandals, disrepair

- A historic former high school in Detroit fell victim to repeat vandalism and disrepair inside the famous "Cooley High."

Thomas M Cooley High School was built in 1928, on the northwest side of Detroit. The Mediterranean revival style architecture is rarely seen.

There are a lot of famous alumni at Cooley including Mike Ilitch who played baseball there and Jimmy Hoffa who played football.

But that was years ago. Now Cooley is deteriorating both on the outside and on the inside. There is wasted running water, broken windows, stolen copper, and overall crime in and around the building.

"This is the end result of them shutting all of our (Detroit) schools down," said neighbor Rick Gaut.

Cooley closed in 2012 because of a lack of enrollment and lack of finances at the Detroit Public Schools.

"It's a copper goldmine," Gaut said.

And the neighborhood knows it.

"They're stealing, they take all the windows, but they get caught," said Damian Johnson who lives nearby.

But the vandals, and the curious get inside anyway. Like an urban explorer who wants to remain anonymous.

The Detroit Public Schools community district owns the building. It was appraised for $965,000, but that was in 2013.

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"The city needs to put some money into it, turn it back into another school," Gaut said. "This is kind of an OK neighborhood but it would be nice if they did something to help these kids. These kids are terrible over here."

A spokesperson for the school district said that Cooley is for sale.

"Trespassing and vandalism are punishable by law," said Chrystal Wilson of DPS. "If neighbors see any suspicious behavior they should call the DPS community district police at 313-748-6000. 

"The police will come and monitor, and if you have any problems they'll deal (with it)," Johnson said.

But is it too late?


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