The OES visited Parsons School on February 9, 2002 and again on December 7, 2003. The abandoned school stood in the middle of a neighborhood in far south Columbus. Parsons School was built in 1960 with additions and improvements made in 1969 and 1975. Used as an elementary school during the baby boomer years, Parsons School closed permanently in 1979. All of the students were relocated to either Scioto Trail Elementary or Stockbridge Elementary. On our original visit in 2002, we were told that the school had an alarm system and any attempts to enter the building would send police. So instead of going inside, we walked the entire perimeter of the school. Based on our observations from the outside, the building's structure seemed to be in decent shape. While the graffiti was to be expected, we thought the interior was probably well-preserved, maybe even like a time capsule, due to the excellent boarding-up of the school. We were wrong.
We returned to Parsons School on December 7, 2003 after learning that a section of sheet metal had been torn down making it possible to enter the building. Upon entering, it quickly became evident that the interior was not very well preserved at all. All of the original ceiling tiles had been torn out when asbestos was removed from the school in the early 1990s. Water damage was prevalent throughout the school and holes were scattered about the roof. The stage in the auditorium/gymnasium/cafeteria was rotten, along with the piano sitting on it. Graffiti covered the walls inside the building as it had on the outside. Most of the classrooms were built in the same style, all having a sink with a built-in drinking fountain. Other than those items, most of the rooms were empty. Many of the restroom fixtures had been broken and busted by vandals as well as the chalkboards and some windows. While the walls seemed to be in good shape, the entire roof would have needed replaced and the insides gutted if the school was ever to be used again.
In 2002, voters passed an issue for Columbus Public Schools to build new school buildings or update existing buildings. It was decided that Parsons School would be razed to make way for a new school to replace the historic Scioto Trail Elementary School on South High Street, built in 1927), and nearby Stockbridge Elementary School. These were the very schools where Parsons' students were reassigned when it closed over two decades prior. In early January 2005, a demolition crew razed the old Parsons School so new construction could begin. The new Parsons School opened in August 2006 with 58,000 square feet that included seventeen classrooms, two kindergarten rooms, two preschool rooms, a gymnasium, cafeteria, art room, music room, media center, and administration offices. All that remains of the original Parsons School are the photos here and the memories of the baby boomers who attended class there in the short 19 years it served as a school. The new Parsons Elementary School will provide new memories for generations to come.