State: 60 days is up for Roosevelt fixes

2014-04-14T21:00:00Z 2014-04-14T22:38:55Z State: 60 days is up for Roosevelt fixesCarmen McCollum, (219) 662-5337

GARY | Today marks the deadline for Gary Community School Corp. to complete mold remediation and improve indoor air quality at Gary Roosevelt College and Career Academy.

The Indiana State Department of Health gave the school district 60 days to make the improvements after a February inspection cited six state violations regarding air quality at the school and mold. 

The improvements were required in six rooms with visible mold, in the concession stand outside the gym and the athletic director's room — areas flooded when a pipe burst due to a lack of heat in the building during the long winter.

Indiana State Department of Health spokesman Ken Severson said the department has not had any contact with EdisonLearning, which operates Gary Roosevelt, or the Gary Community School Corp. since the inspection.

Gary schools spokeswoman Sarita Stevens said school workers remediated the mold, cleaning it with bleach and water. Tile still must be ripped out, and that has not been done yet, she said.

Some officials, including Gary attorney Tony Walker, who is a member of the Indiana State Board of Education, have sought funds from the governor's office to assist the district in making repairs at Roosevelt. 

EdisonLearning spokesman Michael Serpe said there is still mold in the band room and, according to school staff, there have been no more attempts to remediate the situation.

"As you are aware, the state inspection report required the district to address all issues in the report within 60 days, and remediate the mold within 48 hours. Per the staff at the school, they are not aware of any action taken to address these matters."

The Gary Community School Corp. retains ownership of the Roosevelt school building, though the school is operated by EdisonLearning. The state appointed the private operator to manage Roosevelt after several consecutive years of failure under the school corporation. Last year, the state also gave the school an F under EdisonLearning.

Complaints about mold in classrooms and leaking pipes were brought to the State Board of Education’s attention earlier this year. At the direction of the board, SBOE staff accompanied state inspectors on-site to review the conditions and to collect estimates on the potential remediation and repairs needed, spokeswoman Lou Ann Baker said.

"Besides the mold, there are leaky pipes, standing water in the boiler room and other problems," she said Monday. "They came up with an estimate of about $300,000. The question is where do those dollars come from."

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