George E. Parker Elementary School was built in 1927 and was located at 12744 Elmira Street between Meyers Road and Iris Street, on Detroit’s west side. Parker Elementary School was a long, two-story structure designed in a castle-like Collegiate Gothic architectural style.
Parker Elementary School had a light-brick exterior with stone accents throughout the building’s façade. There were four entrances at Parker Elementary School that all featured open, stone-bordered vestibules with the stone-sculpted name “GEORGE E. PARKER SCHOOL” on the façade of each vestibule. Each of the four vestibules also featured two beautiful, ornate, stone-spires on the top and corner of each vestibule. Above the stone-frieze near the rooftop, the brick cornice was cut to give the roofline a crenellation design to give the exterior an even more castle-like appeal. The most notable feature of Parker Elementary School’s exterior design was the beautiful, two-story oriel-window that projected out from the school’s façade and was covered in gorgeous, large-rounded stones. Again this exterior feature gave Parker Elementary School a real castle like design and feel. Parker Elementary School had a “T-shaped” floor plan that consisted of administration offices, classrooms, a library, a gymnasium, and an auditorium. Throughout the years, Parker Elementary School served an average of 800 students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. George E. Parker Elementary School was named after Mr. George E. Parker, who was a local college professor, as well as a long-time member and the secretary for the Detroit Board of Education. Alumni and former students of Parker Elementary School were known as the “Parker Bobcats,” as their school mascot was a bobcat. Parker Elementary School was a property of the Detroit Public Schools system.
By 2005, Parker Elementary School had changed into Parker Elementary/Middle School and housed students in grades pre-kindergarten through eighth in an effort to increase enrollment. It worked for the first few years, but eventually enrollment went on a steady decline. Parker Elementary School was “flagged” for closure by Detroit Public Schools due to low enrollment and low functioning. Parker Elementary School had always had a steady enrollment, but by the late 2000’s the number dropped down to around 500 students. Parker Elementary School also had trouble keeping standardized test scores for their students. With Parker 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 Parker Elementary School was in deep trouble. In 2012, Parker Elementary School was forced to close its doors for good.
When Parker Elementary 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. Parker 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, Parker 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 Parker Elementary School.