Charles F. Kettering High School was built in 1964 and was located at 6101 Van Dyke Avenue between Hendrie Street and East Edsel Ford Service Drive, on Detroit’s east side. Kettering High School was a long, rectangular, two-story structure designed in a modern architectural style.
Kettering High School had a dark-brick exterior with thick, concrete-bordering between the first and second floor and for the cornice. The façade of Kettering High School also featured baby-blue colored accents, such as window panes, panels, doors, and a giant “K” for “KETTERING” in the school’s courtyard at the main entrance. Kettering High School had an odd “q-shaped” floor plan that consisted of administration offices, classrooms, laboratories, a cafeteria, a library, a gymnasium, and an auditorium. The interior of the school featured many courtyards that allowed natural light to fill the classrooms and hallways. Throughout the years, Kettering High School served an average of 1,500 to 2,000 students from ninth grade through twelfth grade. Charles F. Kettering High School was named after Mr. Charles F. Kettering, who was an American inventor, businessman, and engineer. He was also the founder of Delco (auto parts) and became the head of research at General Motors. Alumni and former students of Kettering High School were known as the “Kettering Pioneers,” as their school mascot was a pioneer. Kettering High School was a property of the Detroit Public Schools system.
Kettering High School was “flagged” for closure by Detroit Public Schools due to low enrollment and low functioning. Kettering High School had always had a steady enrollment, but by the late 2000’s the number dropped down to around 700 students. Kettering High School also had trouble keeping standardized test scores for their students. With Kettering High 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 Kettering High School was in deep trouble. In 2012, Kettering High School was forced to close its doors for good.
When Kettering High School closed in 2012, 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. Kettering High 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, Kettering High 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. Recently, plans were announced that Kettering High School will become an agricultural training center and school, but still nothing has happened.