Leaky roof continues to cause problems for middle school

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The St. Johns Middle School English wing has several classrooms where the leak persists.

The St. Johns Middle School English wing has several classrooms where the leak persists.

By: Jordan Mueller

The new roof on St. Johns Middle School has been leaking all school year and continues to cause problems for those who occupy it.

St. Johns Middle School was built in the late 1990s and has suffered from a leaky roof from the beginning. Over the years, it has caused significant damage to certain classrooms within the building, particularly in the English wing.

Many of the funds from the $64 million 2010 Bond Project were directed at fixing the middle school roof. Despite a brand new roof on the building, leaks were already reported this year and have been occurring each time it rains or snows.

Buckets are kept in the corner of some classrooms to catch the water as it leaks.

Buckets are kept in the corner of some classrooms to catch the water as it leaks.

Shelbi Frayer, Business Manager for the public schools in St. Johns, said it is important to fix this roof quickly to keep those who paid for the bond satisfied. Taxpayers of Clinton County voted to pass the bond project and agreed to pay the extra money so the renovations could occur.

“We collected a millage from the community. It’s kind of like we go out and levy money from the city,” said Frayer. “About a million dollars from the $64 million was available for the new roof.”

St. Johns Middle School principal, Scot Henry, said the new roof was finished quite recently and that he was upset to find that the leaks persisted.

“I think we worked on the roof through last summer and finished it up in the fall,” said Henry. “I think most of it is pretty well done, but there are some spots where they need to do some more work.”

The school board is not taking this lightly and said they contacted additional consultants to come in and evaluate the roof in the hope of permanently fixing the problem.

“We actually spent the better part of three or four board meetings just talking about fixing the middle school roof,” said Board Vice President, Scott Marier. “The roof has leaked basically since day one, so one of the issues that became key to this board was fixing this leaky roof.”

However, even a brand new roof did not seem to solve the problem and English teacher, Tammy Van Norman said it continues to be an ongoing problem in several classrooms.

“My roof has been leaking for five years,” said Van Norman. “In particular, my room has had two actual floods that caused damage to all of my personal belongings.”

Clark Construction is working with the school to fix the roof.

Clark Construction is working with the school to fix the roof.

Clark Construction Company was hired by the school district to manage the renovations that were part of the bond project. The construction company worked on the project with another company, Streng Construction. Streng Construction did the actual labor for the roof renovation.

Any renovation that is a part of the bond project contains a punch list in the contract. All of the parties involved examined the finished renovations and produced the punch list, which is a list of repairs that still need to be done.

“Once the new roofing was complete, the parties made a punch list to make a note of everything that was still wrong,” said Clark Construction Project Manager, Chris Bradburn. “Streng did not disagree with any of the items on that punch list, but there has not been any action yet.”

However, after Clark Construction completed their investigation, they said the leaky roof is a direct result of an item on that punch list.

“There appears to be a problem with the way they lapped the shingles in a portion of the roof,” said Clark Construction Senior Project Manager, Ed Lorenz. “But the fix to that is extensive enough that no one was comfortable trying to fix it in the middle of the winter.”

As the weather improves this spring, the school district and both construction companies plan on addressing the issue and will take the necessary steps to fix it once and for all.

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