Roxbury voters approve roof replacement project

By Brian Sweeney
Voters easily approved expenditure of funds for a roof replacement project at the Roxbury Central School in February 2 balloting. The referendum that allows the RCS District to spend nearly $600,000 on the repair project passed 119-7.
The project, which is expected to get underway immediately after school dismisses for the summer, will include the replacement of approximately 31,000 square feet of roof area. The three sections of roof were all part of a school expansion project completed in 1997.
Problems with the new roof began surfacing in 1999. The installation contractors were called back a number of times to repair leaks.
The flat roof came with a single-layer membrane that proved inadequate for weather conditions in the northeast. The roof came with a 10-year warranty.
District officials reported that there have been problems with nearly every aspect of the roof. These issues included: deteriorating ballast stones causing sharp edges throughout the roofing system; pooling caused by ineffective drains; exposed areas leading to chronic leaking; poor integration where the new roof meets the original school building; damage to concrete caps.
The multiple leaks have led to the potential for mold, electrical and property damage hazards.
Superintendent Tom O’Brien said that the RCS Board of Education concluded several years ago that a long-term solution would be needed to correct the chronic leaks. At that point, the board sought approval from district voters to begin adding money to a dedicated reserve fund for an eventual roof replacement.
The roof replacement fund now totals about $151,000. The district will also be applying $155,000 in federal stimulus towards the work. The remaining $284,000 of the approximate $590,000 project will come from the district’s unappropriated fund balance. There will be no new tax dollars applied to work, officials pointed out.
The board is also exploring the availability of any grants that could reduce the amount of reserve funds utilized for the roof work.
The new roof will include three membrane layers and have a 30-year warranty. The entire addition will be re-roofed. Included areas will be the cafeteria, locker room, gym, high school classrooms and the middle school elementary section.
Superintendent O’Brien said he was pleased with the outcome of the vote.
“I’d like to thank community members for their support of the project and I want also recognize the work of our board of education,” he commented.
The superintendent explained that the district is still in the state approval process.