Dunbar-Pulaski Middle School, 920 E. 19th Avenue, in Gary

Dunbar-Pulaski gets a third reboot

Contributed By: The 411 News

Closed Gary public school building will be repurposed by foods manufacturer

Dunbar-Pulaski, the vacant Gary Community School Corporation building on east 19th Avenue in Gary has a new owner, American Kitchen Delights, Inc., a food manufacturer based in Harvey, Illinois.

The Dunbar-Pulaski community will get an update on the status of AKD’s bid to convert the school at a community meeting hosted by Gary’s Fourth District City Councilwoman Tai Adkins at 6pm Monday, September 12 at Trinity MB Church, 1831 Virginia.

Representatives from AKD and the Gary Redevelopment Department will also be in attendance to address community concerns.

According to the company website, AKDI provides food products and packing services to a wide range of markets, such as retail grocery store chains and club stores, foodservice, hospitality, broad liners/distributors, military and travel markets.

The company was founded in 1986. It started out in Skokie, producing bread rolls and pizzas. In 1994, operations moved to Harvey.

AKD also serves some customers as a co-packer or a private label manufacturer, according to their individual needs.

The Gary school corporation whittles its list of empty buildings down to 5 with the sale of Pulaski. The GCSC website lists the 5 schools as properties for sale. They are Ambridge, Melton, Norton, Watson and Webster.

Of all the schools the district has closed, Pulaski is the only one that returned to occupancy.

Pulaski opened in 1923 as an elementary school. This is the school’s third reboot. When Dunbar-Pulaski Middle School closed at the end of the 2008-09 school year, the Gary school district was in another downsizing phase – closing schools and reducing staff. But 3 years later, in 2012, Dunbar-Pulaski was back as a citywide middle school.

That was a defensive move by the district when EdisonLearning, in its takeover of Roosevelt High School in 2012, chose to add grades 7 and 8. Both were playing the numbers game.

When it re-opened, Dunbar-Pulaski was on the Indiana State Board of Education’s list of schools to watch as defined in Indiana Public Law 221, the state’s school accountability policy. Each year, all schools are graded on an A-F scale. If a school fails for 6 continuous years, the law requires closure. When it closed in 2009, Dunbar was defined as a failing school having received 3 years of an F grade.

The accountability time clock didn’t stop when it reopened in 2012. After 3 more years of the failing grade, in the spring of 2015, the state board ordered the school’s closure.

Story Posted:09/12/2022

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