Audubon Elementary School Class of 1977
Collapsed Roof

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Roof caves in at N. Side school

Firemen examine part of the roof that collapsed into a classroom at the Audubon School, 3500 N. Hoyne. One fireman was slightly injured by the collapse as he and fellow firefighters were trying to discover what touched off the sprinkler system. They found no fire, but later discovered that building materials had been stored on the roof. It was believed the material caused the roof to sage, setting off the alarm. The injured fireman, Thomas Hilden, was treated and released at Illinois Masonic Hospital.

- Chicago Today


School roof collapses, boycott called

There will be no classes today in this room of Audubon School, 3500 N. Hoyne Av. The roof caved in under weight of tar and gravel stored in one section for resurfacing it. There will be classes in other parts of the school, tho. The PTA called for a boycott until the School Board can prove the roof is safe. There has been a long dispute about it.

- Sun-Times


Pickets yesterday outside Audubon School.

Contractor blamed for fallen school roof
By Edith Herman

Public school officials yesterday blamed a private roofing firm for the collapse of a roff at Audubon School, 3500 N. Hoyne Av., on Sunday.

Dr. Frank Mattox, assistant superintendent for operations services, said the school system will file an insurance claim against Raney-Harris Inc., a roofing firm which was in the process of resurfacing the roof.

The school was closed yesterday, but about 75 parents picketed the building, demanding that the roof repairs be completed before the school reopens.

Parents had been protesting the fact that the repairs were going on while children were in classes and onw plan to boycott the school until repairs are completed, said Mrs. Barbara Gotski, PTA president.

Mattox said that three separate studies found the roof was structurally sound. Mettings will be held with parents today to review the investigations by the City Building Department, Board of Education, and a private architectural firm, Illinois Belli and Belli, he said.

The studies showed that the roof collapsed because it was overloaded with building materials stored there by workmen, said Manford Byrd, deputy superintendent of schools.

The school is expected to reopen today after the meeting with parents.

The firm was in the midst of resurfacing the 80-year-old roof as part of a Board of Education project.

Altho reports said the roof was structurally sound and would not have collapsed under normal circumstances, the principal of the building is not convinced.

"This building is not fit for any child," insists Miss Anabel McCutcheon, Audubon Principal. "I'm dubious about putting teachers in it-plaster can fall on tehir heads, too."

Miss McCutcheon insists that the roof should be replaced instead of merely resurfaced. "One of our parents warned the board the roof would collapse last December. She was right."

Leaks in the roof were first found in 1971. The board last July let contracts for the roof repairs and work did not start until March, despite parent protests, Miss McCutcheon said. "I guess we didn't throw enough tantrums. No one listened."

"I'm frightened," Mrs. Gotski said. "Our children could have been killed if the collapse happened during the week."

The accident destroyed a third floor classroom, and set off a sprinkler system which flooded the basement and created extensive water damage. Paint and plaster also are falling off the walls in the third floor corridor because of the impact," Mrs. McCutcheon said.

Francis Cronin, director of plant operation, said the roof was not resurfaced last fall because of complications which delayed finalization of the building contract, until Mid-September, too late to start roof work.

However, he insists that the delay until March, when work began, was not the cause of the accident.

"If the roof can't hold building materials, what happens when a tornado hits," Miss McCutcheon asked.

- Tribune

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