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Roosevelt HS back in session after 4 days off

Updated: March 2, 2013 6:56AM



Classes were back in session on Tuesday at Roosevelt College and Career Academy in Gary after students received an unexpected week off when pipes burst and the boiler failed in the aging building.

EdisonLearning Inc. spokesman Michael Serpe said enough repairs have been made to the building to make it habitable.

“I think it helps that it’s warmer in Gary (Tuesday),” Serpe said. “The court ruling said that the temperature is required to be an average of 68 degrees.”

EdisonLearning made the decision to cancel classes after its students endured 40-degree temperatures in the building on Jan. 22. A maintenance contractor had failed to fill the boiler properly, which caused numerous pipes to burst around the building and at the football/track stadium. Quite a few classrooms and offices suffered flooding and water damage as a result.

Last year, the Indiana Department of Education granted EdisonLearning a four-year contract to run Roosevelt due to academic issues, but the Gary Community School Corp. owns the building and is required to regularly meet with the management company about maintenance issues.

On Friday, a Marion County judge granted a temporary restraining order requiring for the Gary Community School Corp. to immediately complete repairs at its own expense to the heating system by Monday. Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt insisted that the problems arose when a maintenance person EdisonLearning hired did not check to make sure water was in the boilers or turn the boilers on, causing the pipes to burst. Serpe said the facility issues started last fall when the air conditioning wasn’t working.

Roosevelt Principal Terrance Little said the repairs are still occurring at the building, but the temperature has stabilized. Little compared the students’ return to any break.

“The first day was just getting back into the groove of things,” Little said. “We were prepared with what might happen, but it went a lot smoother that we could have expected.”

Little said Roosevelt will be in contact with the DOE about what to do about the four missed days.

“They pretty much determine if we have to make up the days,” he said.

Staff writer Carole Carlson contributed.



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