Longstanding RCS roof problems lead board to propose replacement

By Brian Sweeney
Ongoing problems with the roof installed as part of the Roxbury Central School’s 1996 expansion project have led school officials to propose a new roof for the addition. RCS District residents will vote on the expenditure of nearly $600,000 for a roof replacement project on Tuesday, Feb. 2.
If approved by voters, the project would be funded partially by a federal grant, with the balance paid using capital reserve money. There would not be any bonding or new tax dollars utilized for the project, explained Superintendent Tom O’Brien.
A public meeting to provide project details is set for Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the cafetorium.
Superintendent O’Brien said the roof was installed as part of the district’s 1996 building project. The nearly 31,000-square-foot roof (three sections) was completed in September 1997. The roof covers the entire addition, including the cafeteria, locker room, gym, high school classrooms and the middle school elementary section.
The superintendent said the roof included a single layer of membrane and came with a 10-year warranty. Problems with the roof began to surface in 1999 (see timeline story).
“There have been chronically leaking areas. We’ve had people patching it and fixing it for a number of years. The system itself was not the type needed for this area,” Superintendent O’Brien stated.
He said the new roof being proposed to district residents would have three membrane layers and a 30-year warranty. The estimate for the replace-ment is about $590,000. 
Anticipating such a project, the RCS Board has asked district voters for several years to approve add-ing money to a reserve fund  specifically established for the roor replacement.
This fund now totals approximately $151,000.  The district has also received $155,000 in federal stimulus funds for the project.
State law allows districts to hold up to four percent of their annual budgets in a “unappropriated fund balance” to be utilized for unforeseen expenditures. If voters approve of the roof replacement, $284,000 of Roxbury’s $377,000 fund balance would be applied to the project.
RCS Board President Ed Fersch recently wrote in a letter to district residents that the board is continuing seeking grants to limit the amount of reserve funds used for the project.
If voters approved spending the reserve funds, the work would start shortly after school concludes and would likely be substantially completed by August 30.
The district vote for the proposed roof replacement will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 2 from 3-9 p.m. in the RCS cafetorium.
Additional information and photographs about the project are available at: www.roxburycs.org/image/roof%20project.pdf