Oakwood Elementary School
In November 1956, residents of the Oakwood Neighborhood voted in favor of annexation into the City of Kalamazoo. A year later, on the 30th of June, the school board also voted to become part of the Kalamazoo Public School System, thus ending the township’s School District #2. Until 1963, students in the neighborhood continued to use the old brick school building along Parkview Avenue that had been erected in 1923 (with an addition in 1928). The current Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety station sits on this spot where the original one-room Lakeview School also once stood, having been built in 1884, before the neighborhood was called Oakwood.
In 1963, Oakwood children were provided a brand new, 13-room building in the modernist style, located at 3410 Laird Street. The cost of the building was around $300,000. A Lansing firm, Nordstrom-Myers, Inc. won the contract to construct the new school. Forty years later, after declining enrollment, the advent of school choice within the district and the development of charter schools, the neighborhood school was closed in June of 2003. At the time of their closing, the school was offering classes for Pre-K thru 3rd grade.
As of July 2023, the old elementary school now functions as the home of the Kalamazoo Innovative Learning Program, an alternative high school for grades 9-12.
For more information about the Oakwood Neighborhood’s educational history prior to annexation, see this article under Rural Schools.
Article written by Ryan Gage, Kalamazoo Public Library staff, July 2023
“Work to begin on new school units”
Kalamazoo Gazette, 26 March 1963
“School closings: like losing family”
Kalamazoo Gazette, 6 June 2003, page A1, column 1
The history of Oakwood: a community of Kalamazoo, Michigan
Patricia Balch Henry
H 977.418 H523
Local History Room Files
Subject File: Kalamazoo Public Schools – Annexation