St. Rita Catholic School

St. Rita Catholic School opened on September 13th, 1926 with an enrollment of 325 students in six grades. The school was operated by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Just two years later the number of students had grown to 467. The partially finished school was completed in 1946, along with a gymnasium addition in a separate building. By 1954 a larger, modern church was built north of the school along State Fair Street to replace the original chapel. and there were 1235 students enrolled in all grades.

With over 1,000 students attending each year, a modern two-story addition to the school was finished in September of 1969 on the grounds of the original church, which had been demolished in the late 1950's. But the addition came at a high cost to the congregation, which had already started to shrink by 1970. In 1972 the church eliminated the high school program, and as financial problems continued to pile up, the elementary school was closed in 1975.

As with other Catholic Schools that had closed, the Detroit Public Schools started leasing the vacant school from the church in 1979, re-opening it as the Helen Field Learning Center. Though the school had a capacity of over 500, it averaged about 230 students per year through the late 1990's and early 2000's. Field was part of the first large wave of school closings in 2005, when the district terminated the lease with the archdiocese and merged the program into another school. St. Rita Catholic Church closed in 2008, and both the church and school were put up for sale.

After closing the buildings were guarded, but were slowly picked away at by scrappers. In 2009 St. Rita was bought by New Providence Baptist Church, a large congregation on the west side of the city. They reopened the church in 2012 as a satellite location, but had no plans for the school, which fell into ruin.