Project Description

A. Douglas Jamieson Elementary School was built in 1961 and was located at 2900 West Philadelphia Street between Lawton Street and Wildemere Street, on Detroit’s west side. Jamieson Elementary School was a long, mostly one-story structure designed in a modern architectural style (two-stories on the east side).

Jamieson Elementary School had a dark-brick exterior with rectangular sets of windows that surrounded the entire exterior of the building. The exterior windows were bordered in light-blue, metallic paneling on the bottom and bright-white façade bordering on the top. Jamieson Elementary School had a “B-shaped” floor plan that consisted of administration offices, classrooms, a gymnasium, and a small auditorium. The interior of the school featured two courtyards with the hallway walls made of windows around each of the courtyards that allowed natural light to fill the hallways. Throughout the years, Jamieson Elementary School served an average of 700 students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. A. Douglas Jamieson Elementary School was named after Mr. A. Douglas Jamieson , who was the superintendent of the Detroit Water Board, Vice President of the Union Trust Company of Detroit, and a long-time Detroit school board member. Alumni and former students of Jamieson Elementary School were known as the “Jamieson Bulldogs,” as their school mascot was a bulldog. Jamieson Elementary School was a property of the Detroit Public Schools system.

Jamieson Elementary School was “flagged” for closure by Detroit Public Schools due to low enrollment and low functioning. Jamieson Elementary School had always had a steady enrollment, but by the 2000’s the number dropped down to just around 400 students.  Jamieson Elementary School also had trouble keeping standardized test scores for their students. With Jamieson Elementary School using only approximately 50% 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 Jamieson Elementary School was in deep trouble. In 2010, Jamieson Elementary School was forced to close its doors for good.

When Jamieson Elementary School closed in 2010, 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. Jamieson 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, Jamieson 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.