Roosevelt High School Must be Saved! Attend Hearing, Write Letters

In Eastside, Fight Back by Jill Stewart

If you care about protecting the cultural history of Boyle Heights, LAUSD is hosting a public meeting on the fate of Roosevelt High School at 6 p.m. on Feb. 21 at the Roosevelt High School Cafeteria, 456 S. Mathews St. in Boyle Heights.

The public will play a critical role in saving the historic heart of Roosevelt High School, its famed “Building R,” from demolition by LAUSD. Please attend Wednesday, and comment on LAUSD’s “modernization” report. Last fall, Boyle Heights residents were stunned to learn of the LAUSD modernization plan to demolish Roosevelt High School‘s historic-designation eligible Building R.

The Committee to Defend Roosevelt/Defendamos a la escuela Roosevelt, a group of alumni and stakeholders, has spent months since then urging LAUSD to instead preserve, rehab and reuse Building R and other cultural resources on the campus, while also pursuing needed modernizations. The Coalition to Preserve LA has joined in support of their efforts.

Just days ago, LAUSD released a new report finally acknowledged Roosevelt High School as being “closely associated with the 1968 Walkouts” in which students protested discriminatory conditions in Los Angeles Unified School District high schools. 

In that new report, LAUSD offered an alternative to demolition of key historic buildings, that would retain the “historic district within the campus” by preserving and reusing some treasured structures. Another alternative recommends modernizing the campus while saving only Building R.

But Building R still faces possible demolition because some stakeholders are convinced that if the LAUSD-proposed demolition plan from last fall is redesigned, all momentum behind a Roosevelt modernization plan will vanish and the campus will remain in its existing condition — with no improvements whatsoever.

These community members and others have been led to believe that to redesign the plan is the same as “we missed our shot, now we get squat.

But this is not the case. The public must step in to insist on preservation, rehab and reuse to save the historic heart of Roosevelt High School. Please speak at Roosevelt High School on Wednesday night! And please comment via email by end of day, March 23, as below:

Submit comments on the “Draft Environmental Impact Report” by Friday, March 23, urging LAUSD to choose a partial preservation option for the project that honors the community’s shared history by reusing its most important historic structures. If you’re a community member, please state your personal connection and reasons for supporting preservation.

Please email your comments to [email protected] and copy [email protected] so the LA Conservancy can track support. Or, mail them to the Los Angeles Unified School District; Attn: Edward Paek, AICP; 333 S Beaudry Avenue, 21st floor; Los Angeles CA, 90017. — Story by Jorge Castaneda