One could argue that since more waking hours are often spent in school or at work, these places could be considered as a home away from home, complete with their own surrogate families.
It is for this reason that hobbyist photographer Will Crusta thinks abandoned schools look particularly "haunting."
"...because a lot of kids grew up knowing these places as their second homes, and for it just to be completely frozen and lifeless was super eerie," Crusta said in an email to TheBlaze.
TheBlaze has been profiling some of Crusta's work documenting abandoned spaces in New Orleans that were ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and have been left in their dilapidated state. We've shown TheBlaze readers his photographs of an abandoned Six Flags and of a hospital and movie theater.
"I hope my audience sees how breathtaking places like this can be, because I'm sure some people who see my photos will never actually see places holding these qualities with their own eyes," Crusta said. "These are places that have been tossed around by nature, relatively untouched by man and frozen in time. That's something really unique to behold, and the UrbEx subculture revels in that sort of thing."
Abandoned schools in the area seem to have been frequented the most by Crusta. Of the 11 albums of different places where he has gone "Urban Exploring" (UrbExing), five were schools. Here is a sampling of the shots he's taken at schools, but you can find all of the images here.
These photos are of a school in the Central City neighborhood. Here's what Crusta wrote about the experience on his Flickr site:
Went in the greenhouse first, then the annex building. Got freaked out upon seeing signs and newspapers and stuff around the place dated as recently as two months ago, and left shortly after. Found out later that after being wrecked in Hurricane Katrina, only the annex building had been re-opened by the Recovery School District and used as an alternative school for high school kids that kept repeating grades, but vandalism to the electrical system in January of this year caused it to close down.
This other school (photographed below) was located in Central City and, as Crusta points out, "the windows/ walls were torn out completely, so much of the building is exposed to the elements in addition to having suffered extensive damage in Hurricane Katrina."
The photos below were taken from a high school in City Park.
As for what's next on the UrbEx hit parade, Crusta told TheBlaze he's not sure yet, but he does want to cover areas beyond New Orleans at some point.
"Someday, I hope to go through a warehouse or other type of industrial facility. I started to go through a power plant here in New Orleans, but only saw part of the first floor before getting discovered and told to leave. Not by the police, but by guys in trench coats who could have been mafia members for all I knew."
Now that's a story for another time.
Take a look at all of Crusta's UrbEx photos here.