Saint Rita Catholic School was built in 1926 (additions in 1946 and 1968) and was located at 19760 Cameron Street, near the corner of East State Fair Avenue on Detroit’s northeast side. Saint Rita Catholic School served as the parochial school for the nearby Saint Rita Catholic Church. Saint Rita Catholic School was a beautiful, two-story structure that was designed in Italian Romanesque architectural style. Saint Rita Catholic School’s exterior was mostly brick structure with intricate stone accents, including bordering, arches, columns, crosses that line each of the rooftop peaks, and the main entrance façade with the inscription of “SAINT RITA SCHOOL” above the door. Saint Rita Catholic School had a “P-shaped” floor plan that consisted of administration offices, classrooms, a gymnasium and auditorium combination, and a courtyard. Saint Rita Catholic School served approximately 1,200 students from kindergarten through high school.
By the 1970’s, Saint Rita Catholic School began to suffer from a decline in enrollment, as did much of the Detroit. The number of students had dropped below 1,000 and a decision had to be made. In 1975, Saint Rita Catholic School was closed.
In 1979, Detroit Public Schools (DPS) began to lease the school from the Saint Rita Catholic Church. Detroit Public Schools renamed the school as Helen Field Learning Center. Helen Field Learning Center served about 500 students each year. Helen Field Learning Center was named after Ms. Helen Filed, who was a long-time Detroit teacher.
By the 2000’s, enrollment at Field Learning Center had dropped down from 500 students to around 230 students. The former St. Rita Catholic School was much to big for Field Learning Center and Detroit Public Schools needed to act. Detroit Public Schools eventually terminated the lease with the archdiocese and merged Field Learning Center into another school.
Field Learning Center closed for good in 2005. After closing in 2005, the school was secured and guarded, but eventually it was picked away at by scrappers. It seemed that the large school was too large to keep a continuous eye one and properly secure each time it was broken into.
As of 2015, the former Saint Rita Catholic School still sits abandoned. There are no plans to redevelop, renovate, or demolish the former school.
Saint Rita Catholic School in 2010:
Saint Rita Catholic School in 2013: