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Frozen pipes give students 3 days off

– Students stayed home from a northwest Indiana high school for a third straight day Friday because of a heating system that’s left the aging school riddled with frozen water pipes and too cold for classes.

Roosevelt College and Career Academy last held classes Tuesday, when temperatures inside the Gary school were in the 40s. Repair crews Wednesday discovered some water pipes had frozen and burst inside the school, which opened in 1929, the Times of Munster and the Post-Tribune reported.

Roosevelt Principal Terrance Little said the temperature in a school science lab was 42 degrees Thursday morning, an improvement from Wednesday’s 27-degree reading.

“We keep the door open so pipes wouldn’t freeze in the lab,” he said.

Water from other burst pipes damaged third-floor ceiling tiles and leaked into classrooms and the main office, which has been moved across the hallway, Little said. Pipes also burst in the school’s football and track stadium earlier in the week, but those leaks weren’t discovered until Thursday.

Roosevelt is one of five academically troubled Indiana schools taken over by the state last year and turned over to private groups. It is operated by EdisonLearning Inc., a for-profit education management company, under a four-year contract with the state Department of Education, but Gary Community School Corp. still owns the building.

“About 58 percent of the offices are without heat. A significant number have leaks,” said Vanessa Ronketto, EdisonLearning’s vice president of operations.

“We know we have issues with all of our buildings, and we are working through the logistics to make sure that we develop a plan and spend the bond correctly,” Gary Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt said.