65fcb65c3fce96001e17f158 Roosevelt Keego Harbor

Appeals court continues to block demolition of 104-year-old Michigan school building

May 1, 2024
The West Bloomfield district closed the Roosevelt Elementary building in 2022 and now wants to tear it down.

The Michigan Court of Appeals has issued an order that continues to block the West Bloomfield School District from demolishing a century-old former elementary school.

The Detroit News reports that order from the three-judge panel gives a group of Oakland County activists more time to file appeals and preserve the 104-year-old Roosevelt Elementary School  in Keego Harbor.

The district had wanted to begin demolition preparations in April; it had scheduled demolition of the 70,000-square-foot school for June.

The former Roosevelt Elementary has been an anchor for the 2,700-resident Oakland County community of Keego Harbor, supporters assert. The building sits adjacent to the local police station and City Hall.

The school was closed in 2022 and its students were moved to another building in the West Bloomfield district. In calling for demolition, officials have said the shuttered school building is unsafe for students and costly to maintain.


A judge has ordered the West Bloomfield (Michigan) school district to hold off on demolition of Roosevelt Elementary in Keego Harbor.

The Oakland Press reports that Judge Phyllis McMillen has issued a temporary restraining order blocking the district from moving forward with demolition.

The ruling was a victory for activists who are trying to save the 70,000 square-foot school that the district closed in 2022.

EARLIER: A non-profit group and others have sued the West Bloomfield (Michigan) School District to stop it from demolishing the 104-year-old Roosevelt Elementary School building in Keego Harbor.

The Oakland Press reports that the suit seeks a permanent injunction invalidating the school board's approval of contracts awarded for demolition and cleanup of the vacant facility.

Roosevelt Elementary was built in 1920. The district closed the building in 2022 after a ceiling collapsed in an unused classroom.

The suit contends that the West Bloomfield school district never publicly discussed or deliberated any of the demolition or asbestos cleanup bids for Roosevelt and voted to "rubber stamp" recommendations on demolition and cleanup in violation of the Open Meetings Act.

The suit was filed by Heart of the Lakes Community, a non-profit organization; Amir Daiza, a businessman who made the latest offer to buy the building and property; A. Bradford Babbit, David Emerling and Christian Sonneville.

The suit says the district was "conducting secret deliberations outside of public view...and fraudulently concealed its long-term plan to ultimately close and demolish Roosevelt."

International Construction and Environmental Maintenance Engineers have been chosen for demolition and cleanup.

Demolition cost for the building was presented to the board at $465,000 and abatement at $93,000 with no contingency cost. They were the only options given to the board.

The lawsuit argues that the school district never intended to use $3 million from a $120 million bond issue in 2017 for improvements at Roosevelt, and declined multiple offers to purchase the property after saying they were open to sell the five-acre parcel and building.

The suit asserts that district administrators ignored an engineering report stating basic repairs could have been done after the June 2022 ceiling collapse. 

At the time, Roosevelt had 345 students in the three-story building, but it was immediately closed and students finished the year learning remotely.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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