Project Description

William Ruthruff Elementary School was built in 1925 and was located at 6311 West Chicago, at the corner of Livernois Avenue, on Detroit’s west side.  Ruthruff Elementary School was a two-story, long, brick building that was designed in Tudor Revival style by the McGrath, Dohmen, and Page Architectural Firm.  Ruthruff Elementary School was a property of the Detroit Public School system.  Ruthruff Elementary School was named after William Ruthruff, who was a manufacturer and the treasurer of the then-Greenfield Township District (now City of Detroit).

William Ruthruff Elementary School closed in 2000.  It was re-opened that same year as Malcolm X Academy.  Malcolm X Academy was closed in 2006.  It was then an adult education/GED school known as the Last Chance Academy.  The Last Chance Academy only lasted for a few years and closed in 2009.

Malcolm X Academy/William Ruthruff Elementary School was chosen by Detroit Public School to receive the latest form of security measures, which consisted of motion-censored video cameras.  The cameras, knows 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 urban explorers.  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 because the scrappers had figured out how to remove them.  As of 2010, the newly vacant schools would now get Videofied instead of VPS.  Some of the vacant schools that had already closed and had VPS would also now get the Videofied as well.  Ruthruff Elementary School/Malcolm X Academy was chosen to get the Videofied installed.  The Viedofied system was responsible for catching many scrappers, vandals, transients, and the occasional urban explorer.

By 2012, Ruthruff Elementary School started to get destroyed by scrappers.

As of 2015, Ruthruff Elementary School still sits abandoned.  The Detroit Public Schools police still keep a close eye on the school and will prosecute anyone that gets caught trespassing on the property.  There are no current plans to renovate or demolish the school.