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Judge drops order that blocked demolition of historic Roosevelt Elementary School

Posted at 7:52 AM, Apr 04, 2024

(WXYZ) — The demolition of the historic Roosevelt Elementary School in Keego Harbor can move forward after a judge's ruling this week.

Judge Phyllis McMillen denied a motion for a preliminary injunction against the West Bloomfield School District and also stopped the temporary restraining order she issued two weeks ago that had halted demolition.

The tear-down of the 104-year-old school was set to begin after the school board voted to demolish the building last month.

Watch our report below from the school board vote:

Historic West Bloomfield elementary school to be demolished despite community backlash

Heart of the Lakes Community released a statement saying the verdict was a "disappointment" and that it "overlooked the practical wisdom in preserving such a historical landmark."

Despite the ruling, Heart of the Lakes said it will still continue its fight to save the elementary school.

Last month, a lawyer for the Heart of Lakes filed the motion just afters after the board voted. The attorney alleges the school district violated the Open Meetings Act by conducting secret deliberations outside of public view in a concerted effort to destroy the school.

There's been a lot of passion about keeping this building. The community has been fighting for months to keep it standing.

“We were screaming with joy and just tears, this is verification that we are on the right track," said Keego Harbor resident David Emerling.

Video below: Keego Harbor community members continue to protest demolition of Roosevelt Elementary School

Keego Harbor community members continue to protest demolition of Roosevelt Elementary School

One of the most popular repurposing proposals for the board came from architect Joseph Notisky, who offered to buy the building for $1.7 million and turn it into apartments.

"Think about that one just for a minute. Each classroom is a perfectly sized apartment. It makes a wonderful apartment for somebody," he said. "The reality is we're short on students, but also affordable homes. If we keep this building up and keep it temporarily, we think the students are going to repopulate this building with public school attendance once again."

The district's response is that the school building is not safe, and even after being offered millions for it, it's financially irresponsible to repurpose it.

After hearing hours of pleas from community members, the board voted 4-2 to move ahead with the demolition.

The district says they will begin preparing the property for demolition next month and it's scheduled to be demolished in June.

“It’s an anchor of our town, this is the first West Bloomfield High School, you would think they would want to honor that," said Emerling.