CHICAGO (CBS) — The polar vortex forced many schools to shut down for a day or two, but it was weeks for a Northwest Indiana school. And this was not the first time.
Roosevelt High School in Gary is operated by a private company contracted by the state. Everyone agrees the school needs major repairs, but what couldn’t be answered is what needs fixing and who is paying for it.
The school is a place of pride.
“The love and feeling at Roosevelt is embedded so deep,” said teacher and alumna Kia Matthews.
But some parents say the historic site hasn’t been treated like one.
“You don’t do patch work to a historical landmark,” said parent Leroy Dixon.
“It’s a patch up, a constant patch up,” parent Cathy Strong said.
The doors have been shut for two weeks, according to school administrators.
“I can’t go to class and learn,” said Joseph Sykes, a student at the school.
Students haven’t been in the classroom. And Strong said answers have been hard to come by.
“They haven’t been open and honest with us as to why it’s taken so long to inform us what’s going on,” she said.
“Now while I’m out trying to provide for my family I have to worry about a child sitting at home,” Dixon said.
“The pipes continued to freeze and burst,” said Roosevelt principal Dr. Ian Miller.
Miller explained to a room full of parents that the extreme cold followed by a brief thaw took a toll on the pipes and boiler inside the building.
“We cannot turn the water on until the building actually defrosts,” he said. “It’s a safety issue.”
Starting Thursday students will be back in class at the Gary Area Career Center as crews assess the root problem at Roosevelt.
“We just don’t have a timeline, but the end goal is to get back in that building,” said Marshall Emerson, superintendent of Edison Learning, the organization operating the school.
Strong said she’s not confident the building will be fixed.
“It’s going to cost too much,” she said. “Where’s the money going to come from?”
“At this time we don’t even know what we are looking at,” said Nakia Douglas, deputy superintendent for Gary Community Schools. “We don’t know what we are looking at as far as repairs, but we will have to assess the situation before we can make any determinations.”
There are still a lot of unanswered questions, and some parents are concerned about the future of Roosevelt.