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Goodbye OM Roberts


White Rock Lake Weekly

August 04 -11, 2011

Letters to the Editor

Dear Nancy,

Earlier this week a part of East Dallas’ history went tumbling down. Sadness embraced the Jubilee Park community and O.M. Roberts Alumni as they gathered to watch the 1909 historic building come down. Heavy equipment was brought in with giant claws attached that pulled away the beautiful solid yellow brick facade.Doors were ripped away, and the brand new windows and AC unit came crashing down. Many readers may be aware millions were spent to renovate the school but, unfortunately it fell victim to progress and a new plan to demolish it to make way for a replacement school. The materials that fell created loud booms, and clouds of dust drifted in the air as concrete, glass, wood and steel came crashing down. A fire hose squirted the debris to keep dust levels down. For the many passers-by tears began to flow. Some were stopping by to watch the demolition and take pictures. Others gazed nostalgically at the school.

The school was the heart of the neighborhood, which is why many were crushed by the schools board’s decision to move forward with demolishing the school. The Jubilee Park community didn’t want to give up their beloved neighborhood school and showed up in force at public meetings to voice their concerns. They gathered an overwhelmingly 1,600 petition signatures requesting for DISD to consider preservation of the historic O.M. Roberts or on a site just seven blocks away. An alternate plan and solution was also provided by the BC workshop proposing building a new O.M. Roberts building alongside the old one with 3,200 square feet of parking so, there would be no need to expand parking lots into the surrounding neighborhood but, despite all the pleas for an alternate solution from local business owners and residents, the district was steadfast on demolishing the school and neighborhood.

This is another chapter in the tragedy of America’s disappearing historical schools. Progress used to incorporate the past around the present. The lack of care and interest our school district has demonstrated speaks volumes. It’s sad to see this newly renovated building demolished due to its historical significance and connection with the community.

O.M. Roberts was architecturally distinct and filled with character but, now, a pile of rubble is all that remains of the historical school. This is why our local history, local business, and local traditions are very important one by one they are falling victim to the wrecking ball… almost daily. Whether it is a private home, business, or the historic school building, it all should matter.  Once it’s gone, we can only lament its passing.

It may be too late for our beloved O.M. Roberts, but we hope this is the last historic building we will lose for a very long time. The uncertain future of the Jubilee Park community still hangs in the balance. This has not been an easy road for our wonderful community members who love their school, homes and neighborhood. But, we are hopeful that the compassionate, responsible and careful thinking of DISD’s board members will help to resolve the remaining parking lots / playgrounds in-between homes issue, and that both the community and DISD can find a balance of harmony that is beneficial for everyone without having to displace anymore residents or destroy the community further.

Concerned citizens who wish to voice their support in preserving the Jubilee Park community with homes not parking lots can contact their DISD Board member or State Representative. For guidance on historic preservation please contact Preservation Dallas at

Goodbye O.M. Roberts elementary. We will miss you, but we will never forget you. We welcome all of you to visit our website or e-mail us at and post a comment about O.M. Roberts – your thoughts, your memories.

Kind Regards,

Norma Hernandez

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