By Erick Johnson
Alumni of Roosevelt College and Career Academy have planned two demonstrations before an important meeting that will be held to address the status of repairs on the historic school building. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. July 16 at the Gary Area Career Center, 1800 E. 35th Ave.
That same day at 2 p.m. in front of the shuttered Roosevelt school building, alumni will lead a demonstration to demand answers and more transparency from Gary school officials, who have never met with residents for an update on the repairs.
Another demonstration will be held from 4 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. at the Gary Area Career Center.
“We’re asking people to wear your Roosevelt T-shirts and bring your lawn chairs,” said Roosevelt Alumni Janice Ford, who sent a letter to the GCSC last month, expressing their frustration about the situation.
Roosevelt’s historic building has been closed since February after the boiler failed and the pipes burst during a three-day polar vortex that caused deep sub-zero temperatures. Since then, students have attended classes at the Gary Career Center as the school remained closed for repairs. Last month, EdisonLearning announced that Roosevelt students will continue to attend classes at the Gary Area Career Center for the 2019-2020 school year.
A week later, a Crusader reporter visited the building and discovered deteriorating conditions that raised questions as to whether any repairs had been made to the school. Windows were broken and the grass had grown as high as three feet. The grass has since been cut and the some of the windows have been boarded up.
However, despite repeated attempts, the Crusader still has not been given detailed answers about repairs to the heating system. One official twice hung up on a Crusader reporter. A FOIA request sent on June 17 for documents and emails that would shed light on repairs has not been granted.
In an email on June 25, Chelsea Whittington, a spokesperson for GCSC said repairs had been made to Roosevelt but did not give details on that and other questions. For the second time, the Crusader requested through Whittington a tour of the building and photos of the repairs, but she has not responded to those follow up questions, nearly two weeks after they had been submitted.
In an another email to the Gary Crusader, Gary officials said the meeting will give a status update on Roosevelt, “including estimated cost of repairs and student relocation to the Gary Area Career Center.”