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How the Whittier fieldhouse tear down unfolded on social media
UPDATE: 4:00 pm, Saturday August 17, 2013
UPDATE: 2:00 pm, Saturday August 17, 2013
A 10 minute video posted to YouTube shows people confronting CPD beginning around 2:00 mark. Police begin detaining people around the 7:00 mark.
UPDATE: 9:45 am, Saturday August 17, 2013
After last night’s confrontation between protesters and parents and the CPS, the demolition of the field house commenced earlier today. Updates from the scene, including photos of the demolition, are below.
Video from Whittier via @SamWiseEyes is below.
UPDATE: Statement from Ald. Solis is below.
Below is the info I’ve received from CPS regarding the Whittier Field House. I will join Whittier reps and CPS for a meeting tomorrow to address this issue.
Among the District’s top priorities is ensuring that our students have access to a safe and nurturing learning environment The Field House at Whittier Elementary School has been deemed unsafe for occupancy over the last three years due to its advance state of deterioration and threat of the roof caving in. To protect the health and safety of our school community, CPS must take immediate action before students and staff return for the start of the school year on August 26. After the removal of this unsafe facility, CPS will replace it with a state of the art playground, artificial turf field and two basketball courts that students and members of the Whittier community can enjoy.
Chicago Public Schools
CPS has been in ongoing communication for nearly three years with the Whittier school community and the Whittier Parent Committee (WPC) to resolve the issues surrounding the Field House.
CPS has had approximately 7 formal meetings with the WPC since fall 2010 to try and reach a resolution for Field House that keeps children and the community safe.
In fall 2010, the WPC committed to providing the necessary repairs to the Field House, sign a $1 lease agreement in order to start that work and identify funds for those repairs.
After multiple follow up meetings, in August 2012 CPS provided documentation to the WPC on how to bring the Field House up to safety code per its agreement with CPS.
Since that time, the WPC has not taken any steps to bring the building up to code, raise funds needed for repairs or signed the $1 lease agreement. Perry and Associates, a licensed structural engineering firm has conducted three inspections of the Field House finding it to be in “a very advanced state of deterioration” and “not safe for occupancy”. They also found that the roof deck has “rotted all the way through” and “roofing shows evidence of delamination for the structure”.
On top of the building being deemed unsafe by licensed structural engineers, CPS has received multiple complaints from the community regarding the safety of the Field House.
Based on the findings of Perry & Associates, multiple neighborhood complaints and clear visual evidence of deterioration, CPS has decided to move forward with demolishing the Field House and re-purposing the area at Whittier for a new playground, an artificial turf field and two basketball courts that can be utilized by all the students in the community safely. This work will be completed by December 2013.
Currently, the Field House is utilized by members of the WPC, but the building has been deemed unsafe for occupancy.