Samuel Gompers Elementary School was built in 1954 and was located at 20601 West Davison at the corner of Braile Street, on Detroit’s west side. Gompers Elementary School was a small, one-story structure designed in a modern architectural style.
Gompers Elementary School had a light-brick exterior with stone-borders at each of the building’s entrances. Gompers Elementary School had a “U-shaped” floor plan that consisted of administration offices, classrooms, a gymnasium, and an auditorium. Throughout the years, Gompers Elementary School served an average of 400 students from kindergarten through fifth grade. Samuel Gompers Elementary School was named after Mr. Samuel Gompers, who was a labor union leader and founded the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Alumni and former students of Gompers Elementary School were known as the “Gompers Golden Gators,” as their school mascot was a golden alligator. Gompers Elementary School was a property of the Detroit Public Schools system.
Gompers Elementary School was “flagged” for closure by Detroit Public Schools due to low enrollment and low functioning. Gompers Elementary School had always had a steady enrollment, but by the late 2000’s the number dropped down to below 250 students. Birney Elementary School also had trouble keeping standardized test scores for their students. With Gompers Elementary School using only approximately 60% of the school’s capacity, it became apparent that something needed to be done. With the drastic decrease in enrollment and combination of low performance, it was evident that Gompers Elementary School was in deep trouble. In 2011, Gompers Elementary School was forced to close its doors for good.
When Gompers Elementary School closed in 2011, it was chosen by Detroit Public School to receive the latest form of security measures, which consisted of motion-censored video cameras. The cameras, known as Videofied, were relatively small cameras that would hang on the walls inside the vacant school. When somebody would enter the school, the cameras would be turned on by sensing motion and they would begin recording. The video clips were then sent to Detroit Public Schools Police, who would respond to the proper scene. Videofied was responsible for arresting hundreds of scrappers, trespassers, vandals, and even the occasional urban explorer. The Videofied system was Detroit Public School’s response to the Vacant Property Security (VPS) dilemma. By 2009, it seemed that the metal VPS sheets were disappearing on many of the vacant schools because the scrappers had figured out how to remove them. As of late 2009, the newly vacant schools would now get Videofied instead of VPS. Some of the vacant schools that had already closed and already had VPS would also now get the Videofied as well. Gompers Elementary School was chosen to get the Videofied installed. The Videofied system worked for several years and helped limit the damage done by scrappers and vandals.
As of 2015, Gompers Elementary School is still abandoned. The Detroit Public Schools police keep a very close eye on the school and will prosecute anyone that is caught trespassing on the property. There are no current plans for the abandoned school.
Gompers Elementary School in 2012:
Gompers Elementary School in 2013: