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Residents Lament Demolition Of Century-Old Elementary School

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Residents in Jubilee Park are confused and angry that the city is demolishing a neighborhood elementary school that was built more than 100 years ago.

O.M. Roberts Elementary is being torn down to make way for a new campus that can accommodate about 800 students, nearly twice as many children who attended the school in May.

Nearby homeowners have lobbied the Dallas Independent School District against the demolition by picketing and displaying signs in their front yards.

“We want our neighborhood to remain a neighborhood,” said Norma Hernandez, a nearby resident.

Hernandez and Shawn Busari grew up in the area that became known as Jubilee Park about 10 years ago.

It’s located near Grand and Barry Avenues, just south of Interstate 30. They’ve watched as about a dozen homes were purchased through eminent domain in the last year.

Many other homeowners won their fight to keep their properties. So what’s left is a patchwork of vacant, fenced-in plots sitting along side the homes of long-time residents.

DISD officials say the vacant lots will be used to support the new O.M. Roberts Elementary School, which will be completed in August of 2013. But there are no specific plans for those lots.

“DISD came in and destroyed our neighborhood,” Hernandez said. “We want them to take part in rebuilding our neighborhood and let it be a community again.”

Hernandez and Busari say they’ve been unable to get answers from DISD. A recent meeting scheduled with School Board Trustee Bernadette Nutall was canceled. Nutall did not return calls for comment Tuesday.

“We’re at that point where if it takes us going and chaining ourselves up against the school, then so be it,” Busari said.

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