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Flooding, heating problems shut down Roosevelt

G. P. LaRosbuildings grounds coordinator for AlphBuilding Maintenance System shines line cracked steam seperator this bursting spray water pump room

G. P. LaRosa, buildings and grounds coordinator for Alpha Building Maintenance System, shines a line on a cracked steam seperator that is bursting a spray of water in the pump room at Roosevelt College and Career Academy in Gary, Ind. Thursday January 24, 2013. Classes are cancelled for the second straight day because the school has heating and flooding problems. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 26, 2013 6:26AM



GARY — Students at Roosevelt College and Career Academy will get another unexpected vacation day Friday as maintenance crews struggle to repair burst pipes and water damage.

Classes have not met since Tuesday when students sat in chilly classrooms after the building’s heating system failed as the thermometer plummeted to the harshest temperatures of the season.

Principal Terrance Little said the damage includes wet ceiling tiles soaked by a burst pipe on the school’s third floor. Water leaked down into classrooms and into the main office, which has been moved across the hallway. Workers also repaired a cracked steam separator that sprayed water into the school’s lower level pump room.

Other classrooms had puddles and univents that didn’t work. An official said the boiler didn’t have water and feeder valves weren’t operating.

The temperature in a science lab was 42 degrees Thursday morning; Little said it was 27 degrees on Wednesday. “We keep the door open so pipes wouldn’t freeze in the lab,” he said.

Opened in 1929, Roosevelt is operated by EdisonLearning Inc., a for-profit education management company, under a four-year contract with the Indiana Department of Education.

EdisonLearning has contacted the Indiana Department of Education about the problems, and it could have to make up the lost days.

Last year, the state removed Roosevelt from the control of the Gary Community School Corp. following years of poor academic performance. The district, however, still owns the building and is supposed to meet regularly with EdisonLearning officials to iron out maintenance and other issues.

Vanessa Ronketto, vice president of operations at EdisonLearning, assessed the damage Thursday. She said a Gary custodial supervisor was given a list of classrooms without heat. “About 58 percent of the offices are without heat,” she said. “A significant number have leaks.”

Pipes also burst in the football/track stadium, likely about three days ago, but it wasn’t discovered until Thursday.

Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt said it appears the heat had not been turned on in the stadium, causing the pipes to burst.

Two other Gary schools — the Lew Wallace STEM Academy and Dunbar-Pulaski Academic and Career Academy — also had classrooms without heat on Wednesday, said school district spokeswoman Charmella Greer. She said repairs were completed in those schools. Students were moved to other rooms until the univent systems could be repaired.

A sprinkler head malfunctioned at Marquette Elementary and a crew replaced it. Also at Marquette, a Northern Indiana Public Service Co. worker found and repaired a leak on a boiler.

The school district recently took out a $20 million bond to make repairs to aging schools.



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