Coventry has been closing schools daily due to issues of snow removal and a large portion of the issue revolves around the school roofs. Therefore, a longer than normal entry is being made today to provide a great deal of information concerning the history of issue and an update of information.
The source of this information is taken from meeting minutes or from original direct copies of spoken presentations. The dates of actual minutes are provided for your convenience and you may see the full minutes of those meetings on the Board of Education (BOE) website or the Town website if the reference is to the Town Council.
Some areas are highlighted in bold to assist you in finding information or condensing your reading.
BOE 12/11/08 – During a Capital Improvement Budget conversation, John Barrett begins to ask questions about roof life expectancy and learns from the Chairman, Larry Pietrantonio that an engineering study needs to be done. (Recollection is that when Mr. Barrett brought up the discussion he was referring to Capt. Nathan Hale but the comment was made, if you think that’s bad you should see Robertson)
BOE 5/28/09 – First discussion of development of an RFP (Request for Proposal) to contract with a roofing engineer to assess the condition of the roofs. J. Barrett speaks of leaking roofs in several schools.
BOE 6/5/09 – Paul Noel, Facilities Director, discusses damage to building caused by roof leak as well as associated costs.
BOE 6/25/09 – Chairman Pietrantonio informs Board that money will be available 7/1/09 to move forward with roof analysis. The Board unanimously votes to begin the roofing project. Larry Pietrantonio informs Board that an RFQ (Request for Qualifications) be emailed out to Board members for review.
Comment: Three consecutive summer meetings were canceled. Board takes no action for 2 months
BOE 8/26/09 – Mike. Whitham asks about status of roofs. Later in meeting Chairman Pietrantonio provides Board with copy of the RFQ. John Barrett asked if we needed to pass it through for legal review. Larry Pietrantonio said it is a stock RFQ. Board approves RFQ by consensus.
BOE 9/10/09 – M. Whitham asked for a realistic timeline for the roof replacement project. J. Barrett said the Board should make a recommendation to the Town Council at their next meeting to have some remediation done to these roofs. J. Barrett said he is very concerned about the condition of the roofs. L. Pietrantonio said the letter will be written to the Town Manager asking what the Town’s responsibility is if there is a roof failure.
BOE 10/08/09 – L. Pietrantonio informs board of conversation with Town Manager regarding proper procedures. J. Barrett reiterated that the roof is still leaking; something needs to be done in the meantime. L. Pietrantonio said there is no fast tracking the process.
BOE 10/29/09 – J. Barrett and M. Whitham ask about costs associated with leaking roofs and suggest the Board was not given enough information about the severity of the roof problems.
[November lections take place three new members are elected, the new members are: Jen Beausoleil, Mary Ann Emanuelle, and Mark Malcolm]
BOE 11/12/09 – During discussion of BOE meeting date schedule M. Malcolm suggested that summer meetings should not be starred (indicating they’d take place if necessary). He said if those meetings had taken place this past summer the Board would have been in a more advances stage of the roof replacement project. Later, L. Pietrantonio provided Board with RFQ responses from 12 contracts to be reviewed for discussion at the next meeting.
BOE 12/3/09 – Board narrows the vendors down to three who were invited to submit quotes for the assessment phase of the project.
BOE 1/14/10 – By split vote the BOE selects an engineer for the roof assessment. Barrett, Emanuele, Malcolm, and Kortman spoke of their desire to move the process along due to its criticality while opposing members preferred to have an opportunity to interview the vendors.
BOE 1/28/10 – Discussion and vote on CIP which included lengthy debate about what year in the CIP the roof project should fall. During discussion, C. Trudon said the discussion had with the Town Manager noted the roofs currently in place are not in dire need of total repair.
BOE 2/25/10 – First meeting between roof engineer Albert Jacunski from Jacunski Humes Architect and Board. Engineer spoke of his first assessment of roofs after viewing them the prior week. He went on to say “that the membrane of the roof at GHR is going to shatter” and “when the shattering happens it is roof failure”. He further offered that “he does not think GHR should wait another year; it should be done this summer”. Mr. Jacunski talked about re-roofing and the state deadlines for reimbursement. He said Coventry’s figure for reimbursement is 63%, if the filing is done with the State by June 30. He said if it is after June 30, it will be 60%.
BOE 4/8/10 – Board met with engineer where he recommended replacing the roof GHR “forthwith”. He also spoke of reductions in state aide should the project be delayed another year. Based on compelling information provided by engineer, J. Barrett motions to fast track the roof project by requesting an immediate $25,000 expenditure from the Town Council and use the engineer to draw up the plans necessary to move the roof replacement project forward, continuing that if the Town Council refused to fund the Fast Tracking approach, the BOE would pay for it. M. Malcolm and M. Emanuele supported the motion. Pietrantonio, Beausoleil, Trudon and Kortman oppose. Motion to fast track failed making it impossible to complete the GHR roof in summer 2010.
Town Council 3/1/10 – Audience of Citizens Town Council Meeting citizens came forward with concerns about the roofs and urged the Town Council to act immediately.
Tom Pope – “Waiting to act will not stop the rain over Robertson School” and “The Town garage is a priority that can not be ignored. It is now joined by a roof project for our schools that can not be ignored. At the last Board of Education meeting an outside engineer recommended that the project can and should be scheduled for this summer to gain additional reimbursement money from the state that would be lost if we delay past June. In addition he pointed out the structural risk of waiting and it became apparent this is not a project that prudent thinking can ignore.”
John Barrett – “The Robertson School roof will be coming forward this spring for a summer build. We have been patching and repairing. He recommended getting a copy of the DVD from the last Board of Education meeting for more information about this issue.”
Below are the actual minutes of the Town Council meeting concerning the school roof replacement.
Special Town Council Meeting Minutes – April 19, 2010
Consideration of School Roof Replacement
Al Jacunski of Jacunski Humes Architects and Larry Pietrantonio, Chair of the Coventry Public Schools Board of Education, were present to discuss the condition of the roofs at Robertson School, Coventry Grammar School and Nathan Hale Middle School. Mr. Pietrantonio noted that Jacunski Humes was the architect for the Police Station. This issue was discussed thoroughly at the last Board of Education meeting.
Mr. Jacunski thanked the Council for moving this discussion up on the agenda. He noted that Jacunski Humes has an extensive portfolio of exterior roofing and restoration. They were commissioned to conduct a survey of the 3 buildings to assess existing conditions and make recommendations to extend the life of the roofs or replace them. The evaluation was conducted over 7 weeks. We did find some asbestos. Mr. Jacunski indicated that some historical data is still pending but the costs outlined in his estimate should not change. Costs shown are based on 2011 construction costs, which should be escalated by approximately 4% for each year of deferral. The filing deadline for the 2010 reimbursement rate is June 30th
The roof is over 20 years old. The waterproofing method is asphalt. Asphalt loses waterproofing over time and that is happening here. Costs for this project include replacement of approximately 69,500 sq. ft. of existing roofing with a new 20-year EPDM roofing system, masonry restoration, chimney and above roof wall surfaces, replacement of deteriorated mechanical equipment and removal of abandoned mechanical equipment. Additional costs include contingency, an alternate for a 30-year EPDM roofing system, architectural/engineering fees and printing/legal fees for a project total of $1,395,800.00. With a projected State reimbursement of 85% of project total at 60.71%, the cost to the Town of Coventry would be $675,518.00.
Robertson School has an existing PVC system on half of the building that should be replaced. PVC is a hard brittle plastic that is resistant to almost everything. A plasticizer is added to make it more pliable. This has evaporated over time and has become more brittle, which makes it smaller. Basically, the roof is “shot.” It is splitting and in danger of shattering – which would be ultimate failure. Mr. Jacunski has seen this happen in about 4 cases. The original roof is still there – in fact there are 3 roofs in place, which is a code violation. The upper section of the roof is in good condition with approximately 10-15 years of life left. There is no access to the cafeteria roof and installation of a ladder is recommended.
Mrs. Thomas asked about the implication of “shattering.” Mr. Jacunski replied that the roof is going to leak. Mr. Elsesser indicated that the roof is not in danger of collapse, although Mr. Jacunski said some of the ceiling tiles might fall. Mr. Elsesser said that water has gotten into every building that the Town owns. Mr. Pietrantonio said it is going to happen no matter how well they are built. Mr. Jacunski said that a new roof that is designed properly should not leak, but even a well-designed roof will leak with aging.
Jacunski Humes is recommending the replacement of the PVC system “forthwith.” The roof could shatter at any time. Costs include replacement of approximately 30,100 sq. ft. of existing PVC section with a new 20-year EPDM roofing system, masonry restoration, chimney and gym above roof wall surface, asbestos removal and disposal, cafeteria roof access ladder, removal of abandoned mechanical equipment, contingency, alternate for a 30-year EPDM roofing system, architectural/engineering fees, industrial hygienist fee and printing/legal for a total of $644,100.00. With a projected State reimbursement of 85% of project total at 60.71% the cost to the Town of Coventry would be $311,722.00.
Coventry Grammar School:
Replacement of the entire roof is recommended. Most of the asbestos was found here in the flashing and patching material. This building has the best chimney of the three, would could be repointed rather than replaced. More of this project (5%) would qualify for State reimbursement. Costs include replacement of approximately 54,300 sq. ft. of existing roofing with a new 20-year EPDM roofing system, masonry chimney restoration, asbestos removal and disposal, replacement of deteriorated mechanical equipment, contingency, alternate for 30-year EPDM roofing system, architectural/engineering fee, industrial hygienist fee and printing/legal for a total of $1,052,000.00. With a projected reimbursement of 90% of project total at 60.71% the cost to the Town of Coventry would be $477,198.00.
Mr. Hall asked for an explanation of the June 30th filing deadline. Mr. Jacunski replied that the State reimbursement rate is set based on the wealth of the community. Coventry is the 122nd poorest in the State for the 2010 rate. The highest rate is 80 – the lowest is 20. The State requires that you commit to funding. You get reimbursement after you start construction. The rate prior to June 30th is 63.21%. After July 1st it is 60.71%. Coventry has moved up seven places in the ratings for 2011.
Mr. Elsesser said we will have to add other things like bonding, Clerk of the Works, etc. Mr. Jacunski said that some towns have a Clerk of the Works and some don’t. If Jacunski Humes is selected for the project we would not provide a Clerk of the Works service. We recommend that the Town hire an outside service.
Mr. Williams asked whether the Town has historically gone with a 20 or 30-year EPDM. Mr. Elsesser replied 20, but projects are changing. The slopes are higher, etc. Mr. Jacunski said the specs are based on ½” per foot of slope. It might be possible to get a waiver to ¼”. We would apply for that. He also recommended a 30-year EPDM, saying it is money well spent when you amortize the cost over the life span of the project. He will amend the budget to add a Clerk of the Works.
Mr. Elsesser asked whether these roofs would be more efficient from an energy conservation standpoint. Mr. Jacunski replied yes. They are specified to meet the minimum requirements of the code, plus a little more. We can’t tell exactly how much more. We would have to do a full thermal scan.
Ms. Woolf asked Mr. Elsesser if we have any information from the State regarding possible changes in funding. Mr. Elsesser replied there is increased fiscal pressure, which could mean reduced fiscal grants. There is a good likelihood that will happen. Connecticut was more generous than other states and is looking for savings. Once we have a signed contract we will get paid. There are progress payments so it can become a cash flow issue. This project is not that huge – we shouldn’t have to worry but there might be occasional delays.
Mr. Jacunski noted that a school roofing project doesn’t require Legislative approval. The Commissioner of Education approves it. It is not a grant – it is a reimbursement.
Mr. Hall asked whether the Board of Education is recommending all 3 projects. Mr. Pietrantonio replied yes, staggered over a 2-3 year period. We are recommending establishing a Building Committee and developing a 2-3 year plan to do all 3 roofs. There would be economy of scale. Only a few contractors can do a roof project of this size. We can get good numbers if we guarantee a contractor 2 years of work. Plus the climate is favorable now and will cost more later.
Mr. Zenko asked whether the intention is to do the work during the summer of 2011 and 2012. Mr. Pietrantonio said yes. We won’t make 2010. We need preliminary design, a referendum, time to interview architects, etc. Mr. Elsesser noted that the idea of getting Robertson done this summer is virtually impossible. Mr. Jacunski replied it would be very monumental. That’s why he recommended replacing it “forthwith.”
Mr. Hall asked what would happen if we get a hurricane. Mr. Jacunski replied it is possible that such an event would accelerate the roof’s failure. Mr. Hall asked how many classrooms are in the failed section of Robertson School. Dr. Bernard replied there are 4 in that section. We moved one. Mr. Pietrantonio noted we may have to do temporary repairs.
Mr. Jacunski noted that all 3 roofs could be done in one summer. Mr. Zenko asked if we go to 2012 if the cost would be higher. Mr. Jacunski replied yes. Industry standards for escalation are 4% per year.
Mrs. Trudon, a member of the Board of Education, asked about the process. Would we require a Town Meeting prior to a referendum? Mr. Elsesser replied yes. Mrs. Trudon said we will have a lot of work to do to explain the process. Mr. Elsesser said we could choose to call a Town Meeting with a financial report in 6 weeks, if people are willing to accept it without input from a Building Committee. It would lock in the reimbursement rate and start the clock ticking on a construction start date. We would have to start construction within 12 months. There are 3 projects with 3 sets of paperwork. We also have to hire an architect and complete all of the required legal warnings, etc. We are not going to achieve a July construction start date. We would have to consider roofing while school is in session. The State requires a competitive bid process. We do not have to select the low bidder but price is a factor.
Mr. Jacunski said he doesn’t recommend roofing while school is in session. We would have to vacate sections while the work is being done. There will also be odors, etc. Dr. Bernard said she agrees – we would prefer to plan ahead with a realistic timeline.
Ms. Woolf asked about next steps. Mr. Elsesser said we should proceed with the selection of a Building Committee. Mr. Pietrantonio said we would prefer that the Board of Education not do it. We don’t have time. Perhaps a permanent Building Committee could be selected. We will need meetings every two weeks. Mr. Jacunski said the Committee could be as small as one person. There are not set regulations.
Mr. Zenko suggested sharing the draft Building Committee charge with the Board of Education at the Steering Committee on Monday and asking for input. We will want a Board of Education member for reporting. Mr. Elsesser said by Statute the Building Committee is authorized to execute the project for the schools. Mr. Pietrantonio said the Board of Education will discuss it at Thursday’s meeting. Mr. Elsesser noted there is no State reimbursement for repairs. The cycle of patching is all on our dime and is not a permanent solution. It will cost us more in the long run. There is not a path to do nothing. Board of Education members Mrs. Trudon and Mrs. Kortmann also emphasized the costs of interior damage and disruptions to school schedules.
Ms. Woolf thanked Mr. Jacunski and Mr. Pietrantonio for their presentation.
BOE 5-3-10 Town Council adopts the charge to the School Roof Building Committee. Mr. Elsesser said we have revised numbers to add a Clerk of the Works, bonding and portable classrooms. (Comment: The reference to portable classrooms relates to replacing those roofs also)Mr. Zenko asked if we requested input from the Board of Education. Mr. Elsesser replied yes, and we received none. The architect who developed the evaluation report also recommends that work not be done while school is in session.
8/31/10 Referendum was held for the roof project and it passed with, 906 were in favor with 377 opposed.
BOE 10/4/10 Discussion of Revised Charge to School Roof Building Committee: An alternate position is included in the Charge; a full member’s resignation is expected. These position need to be filled for the Committee to have meeting quorums The Committee will hold a special meeting to consider architects.
As of Tuesday Feb. 8 substantial progress was made in clearing the roofs of snow and was continuing. Schools were closed on Tuesday to assure completion of clean-up and to allow consideration of an engineer’s review of structural issues. The structural engineer was at the schools Monday night and expressed concerns with the weight of certain drifts and some new cracking in the new gym and other areas, and needs further evaluation of the southern exterior wall of Nathan Hale which moved laterally during snow removal on Monday. The weight of the snow increases as it absorbs more rain so the calculations from last week are no longer accurate.
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