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John Marshall High School

John Marshall High School

Location Class:
Built: 1950 | Abandoned: 2007
Status: Demolished
Photojournalist: AbandonedOK TeamMichael Schwarz


John Marshall High SchoolMost people when they think of the old John Marshall High School, they think of violence, gang activity and overall just a relatively bad part of town. However, back in the school’s booming days John Marshall was well known and the absolute best high school around Oklahoma City. Many awards were given to many talented and prideful students. Sporting teams were undefeated, or the best in their class. Many pleasant and treasured memories stir in the minds of the early graduates. Lurking in the empty halls kids are laughing, learning, and cherishing their future ahead of them.

John Marshall opened in early 1950 to serve the need for a high school in the ever-growing suburbs in far north Oklahoma City. In comparison to other high schools built by the OKCPS at this time it was considered the best. It features 2 gyms, tennis courts, football fields, and an auditorium. It thrived well into the 1970′s until the surrounding area began to declined. Once a feeder for students from Nichols Hills, Quail Creek, Val Verde, and the Greens, it saw its enrollment fade as these students began flocking to the private schools that dot the north side of the city. Crime began to rise in the 80′s and Marshall gained a horrible reputation for gang activity and violence. As part of Maps For Kids, a campaign began by the citizens to improve the area schools, John Marshall was tapped for re-location to Portland and Lake Hefner Parkway. The citizens of John Marshall High SchoolQuail Creek, The Greens, The Meadows and Arbors, and Val Verde fought desperately to not have this bad reputation right on their front doorstep. But to no avail. They lost the fight and the new John Marshall opened in 2005. Splitting students between the new location and the old for a year, they finally closed the original John Marshall in 2006. The OKCPS attempted to open the school as “Centennial High School” as an alternative school for the closed Gateway Academy, but this did not pan out. After a semester those students were transferred to the new school. The rambling old high school shows its age with weeds coming through the tennis courts, boarded windows, and a sign barely visible charting the achievements of its better days.

Officials think a fire that damaged four classrooms in the old John Marshall High School building was intentionally set. Arson investigators are looking into the cause of a Saturday fire at the empty school, Fire Battalion Chief Brian Stanaland said. The utilities to the building had been turned off. There was no damage estimate because the building is scheduled for demolition. Oklahoma City Public Schools is in the process of selling the old school, district spokeswoman Kathleen Kennedy said Monday. The old John Marshall High School was built in 1945. The property includes the 240,000-square-foot facility and 20 acres of land. The school board agreed in August to sell the building to Premier Assets Inc. for $400,000. The building will be torn down, Kennedy said. The sale is on hold until the city council considers whether to rezone the property as residential, Kennedy said. The issue is expected to come before the council soon, she said. Two previous offers to buy the property and old school building haven’t worked out.

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Michael Schwarz

Starting from a young age, I’ve always loved exploring. I can remember venturing off and scoping out the houses being built in the developing neighborhood right behind my house. As I got older, I found myself appreciating the work and love that went into architecture and just being excited to pass by the beautifully designed places in downtown.

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