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$569,000 asked for Deans Mill roof repair


STONINGTON — The Board of Education on Thursday unanimously voted to ask the town’s Board of Finance to fund repairs to the leaky roof at Deans Mill Elementary School as soon as possible.

Specifically, the request calls for spending $569,000 to repair the school’s five actively leaking roof systems over the cafeteria, library media center, gym, office and an instructional wing.

Throughout all five areas, including the cafeteria and library, leak tents have been set up to collect water, which some parents have described as “nasty.”

“We can go out and fix the roof just over the cafeteria,” Superintendent Van W. Riley said, “and then have others that are leaking… it just makes sense to move forward with this request.”

Riley said officials will ask Board of Finance members to move quickly.

“There are a couple of different funding sources that can be used,” he said. “We want to see if we can use another funding source so work can be started immediately.”

The Deans Mill roof is listed on the Board of Finance’s agenda for its meeting Wednesday. The board meets at 7 p.m. in the police department meeting room in Pawcatuck.

The leaks in the Deans Mill roof, which Principal Doug Hammel said have gotten significant and “a lot more regular” within the last two years, have left parents and town leaders concerned.

School board Chairman Frank Todisco said that Board of Finance members Sandy Grimes and Glen Frishman visited Deans Mill on Wednesday to look at the roof.

“We’re beyond the warranty in all of these areas,” said Ken Donovan, the district’s facilities manager.

According to a long-range district facilities plan that the Board of Education’s finance subcommittee saw for the first time on Thursday, all of the roof systems in the school are at the end or past their life span.

The instructional wing roofing system is 19 years past its life span, according to the plan.

Riley and the Board of Education want to see all five leaking roofs at the school fixed soon.

“We understand the severity of the roof issues — all of us do, the School Board, Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen,” Todisco said at a parents meeting held at Deans Mill on Tuesday.

The $569,000 includes complete replacement of the roof systems — re-engineering the pitch and drainage of the roof.

The skylights that were installed in 2010 in 24 locations throughout the roof would not be replaced, according to Donovan and Bill King, district operations manager.

Although tests done around the building have shown that the air quality in the school is safe, the roof, which was installed in 1973, has had leaking issues for at least eight years, according to King.

Last week, the Board of Education agreed to earmark $92,000 in the capital improvement project budget for the replacement of the roof over the cafeteria, but Todisco and Board of Finance Chairman John O’Brien have had ongoing discussions on the need to fix more than just the one roofing system.



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