Alice Campbell Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
After a lengthy discussion during Tuesday evening’s Havre Public Schools Board of Trustees meeting weighing the pros and cons of three different roofing systems to replace the shrinking membrane currently in place on Havre Middle School's roof, trustees decided to contract Thomas, Dean & Hoskins Inc. Engineering Consultants to begin drawing up plans for an SBS Modified Bitumen Built-up Roof System. The SBS system, costing $994,250, will replace the current membrane and the damaged masonry will be repaired. Instead of only being attached around the edges with one point of ballast, the membrane would be attached at several points across the roof. Because the tar materials used with the chosen roofing system is tied to the oil and gas industry, trustees voted to move quickly and put the project out for bid this construction cycle to avoid rising costs. Once the plans are completed Rodney Blake, engineer with TD&H, estimated it would take roughly three weeks to complete plans they will Be placed out for bid, a process which Blake said will probably take another three weeks. The new roof system will replace the old roof that has a shrinking membrane that is causing cracks in the school's masonry. The extent of the water damage due to the faulty roof is unknown, Operations Director Jim Donovan said, "but I can tell you it's not good." The roof, which will have a slight incline instead of the noticeable slope of a sloped roof system, will be able to handle heavy snowfall, Blake told trustees. The roof is able to withstand up to 30 pounds of snow, and because of the heat absorbing qualities of the asphalt used, snow that does accumulate will melt quickly, he said. Despite the risk of freeze thaw effects on the asphalt components of the SBS system, Blake said it's resilient due to added polymers that create flexibility. One of the downsides to the SBS system is the smell akin to gasoline, Blake said. To avoid the smell and fumes from the roofing materials and process from affecting students at the start of the school year, it will be built into the plans for the sections of roof near vents to be completed first and as soon as possible. Blake estimated that the system could be completed within 120 days of project commencement, but that it could also be completed as early as 90 days if pushed. The amount of money in the building reserve also played a part in trustees' decision. A sloped roof system would cost roughly $2.3 million to install, and while its life span is generally longer than flat roof systems, Blake said he has seen SBS systems last upwards of 30 years. Even with the passed mill levy for $185,000 per year for six years combined with the roughly $1 million already in the building reserve, there would not be enough funds to pay for a sloped roof at the estimated cost. Warranties can also be purchased so that any leaks will be fixed without cost. Blake recommended trustees purchase a 20-year warranty to support the new roof system. The cost of the plans and project management by TD&H was not included in the overall project estimate put before trustees, but Donovan said that compared to the overall cost, it was worth it. School Superintendent Dennis Parman said that he spoke with the Department of Commerce about several grants to absorb some of the costs, but that none of them seemed like a sure bet for the roof. However, he added that a Quick Start grant might be obtained to implement the changes recommended by National Center for Appropriate Technology to make district schools more energy efficient. The energy audit was recently completed and recommends that lighting be changed to energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs with the old bulbs recycled and motion detection lighting be installed in the buildings. The complete project was estimated by NCAT to cost $118,407 with a $45,277 rebate from NorthWestern Energy. If the grant covers the complete cost of the project, Havre schools will still receive a rebate. The energy savings are estimated at $34,387 in the first year alone. When the grants become available, the project is ready to go for application, Parman said.