New school should carry Roosevelt name and spirit, alumni say

“We’re not trying to preserve a building,” 1967 graduate Dwight Washington said of the recently razed high school at 2013 W. Third St. “We’re trying to preserve a spirit to honor the school’s history and the community it served.”

Washington and members of the Roosevelt Alumni Association asked the Dayton Board of Education on Dec. 15 to incorporate the Roosevelt name into the new elementary school and city-owned recreation complex that’s scheduled to open on the site next fall.

The group will ask the Dayton City Commission for the same consideration at the commission’s Jan. 20 meeting, said Philip Bass, a 1968 grad.

“We’re proud of Roosevelt and what it stood for, good and bad,” Bass said.

Roosevelt was one of the nation’s largest schools when it opened, and it played an important role in the city’s history. The school is remembered for its racial politics as the movement for integration began in the 1950s and for educating some of the city’s most important leaders.

Its replacement will be the $21 million Dayton Boys Preparatory Academy and city of Dayton Rec Plex.

“I’d like to see it named Roosevelt Preparatory Academy,” said Washington, a local attorney.

School board President Jeffrey Mims Jr. said the alumni association is a strong supporter of the school district, and “it certainly makes some sense” to consider its request.

“It’s not a done deal,” Mims said. “I would hope we’d make a decision within the next two or three months.”

Donations needed

The Save Our Seal Committee seeks donations to restore Roosevelt’s seal from its tile-floored entrance so it can be installed at the new school currently under construction. Make checks payable to Save Our Seal and send to Save Our Seal Committee, P.O. Box 61071, Dayton, Ohio 45406 or stop by Chase Bank at West Third and South Broadway streets. For more information, contact Bass at (937) 542-3133.

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