Demolition begins on former Roosevelt High School HISTORICAL RECORD
By James Cummings
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Location of former Roosevelt High School.
DAYTON — Nearly 40 years ago, Philip Bass left Roosevelt High School as president of the class of 1968. On Tuesday, Sept. 23, he stood outside the main entrance as the jaws of a demolition machine bit into the building's facade.
"It's very painful," Bass said.
Roosevelt, opened in 1927 as one of the largest high schools east of the Mississippi, will be torn down over the next two to three months to make way for an all-boys elementary school and a city recreation center.
John Carr, chief construction officer for Dayton Public Schools, said several artifacts from the building — including some ornate fountains and the bell from the east side belltower — have been preserved for possible use in the new school.
"Roosevelt has a long, long history, but the cost of trying to operate this building with today's energy cost would be astronomical," Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin said. "Having a new school and the Rec Plex here is going to create an anchor for this neighborhood. Sometimes we have to weigh sentimental value against economic reality."
Carr said the new school that will stretch across the 1900 and 2000 blocks of West Third Street could open in time for the 2010-2011 school year.
Bass said a committee of Roosevelt alumni arranged to have the Roosevelt seal removed from the entrance of the old building, and he said the committee established a "Save Our Seal" fund at Fifth Third Bank to accept contributions to finance having the seal refurbished and placed in the new school.
Bass said Roosevelt alumni generally have come to terms with the loss of their old building.
"The decision has been made to tear the building down," he said. "We'd like to see some of it saved, though."
Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2395 or jcummings@DaytonDailyNews.com.