Water issues plague new school buildings

Published 5:15 pm Friday, September 18, 2009

Some issues with leaking roofs and standing water in new school construction, and a new problem found in an old building receiving a makeover, were addressed at the latest meeting of the Butler County Board of Education.

The renovation and remodeling project at McKenzie School is very near completion, but an unexpected need for roofing repairs came to light, said Superintendent Mike Looney.

“In the process of tearing out the auditorium ceiling, they discovered the old material in the ceiling was such an absorbent material that it was actually masking any leaks,” Looney said.

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While the roof had been surveyed prior to the project, it had been deemed “old but intact.”

“They had no way of knowing the leakage was there until they tore out the ceiling,” he said.

The board approved having Henry Davis Roofing repair the old auditorium roof at the (lowest bid) cost of $32,000, which will include the removal of asbestos.

Looney said the other projects at McKenzie were largely complete except for some minor touch-up work, with furnishings for the science labs and library now on site.

The recent heavy rains caused leaks to appear at both the new W. O. Parmer Elementary School building in Greenville and the Butler County Magnet School in Georgiana.

“These types of leaks are not unusual to see in even a new structure with a flat roof system and HVAC,” Looney said.

“When you have lots of rain, you do find bugs in the buildings.”

Three areas at W. O. Parmer were also found to have standing water issues: near the cafeteria corridor, the sidewalk between Building 1 and the cafeteria, and area between the new kindergarten building and the cafeteria.

“Modification of the landscaping will alleviate most of these problems, and we will try to have these addressed before the next heavy rain event,” Looney said.

Water coming under the doors at the magnet school in Georgiana appears to need some type of trench and irrigation system to correct the problem, said BCMS principal Joseph Dean.

Looney said the contractors for the magnet school were already looking into the most cost-effective remedy to resolve the leaking and standing water situations.

“They (the BCMS contractors) have been much more accessible to work with, in terms of correcting these problems, than those for W.O. Parmer. I would not be surprised if the board needs to pursue legal council in this matter,” Looney said.

In other actions taken Thursday night, the BOE:

– Heard Mizell Cobb of the RL Austin Alumni Association. Cobb stated the group’s interest in taking over the old RLA building in Georgiana and turning it into a recreational/educational community center for the city.

– Recognized Cody House of BCMS; Dustin Shell of McKenzie School; Shakayla Mixon of BCMS; Connor Murphy-White at GHS and Angela Nixon of McKenzie School for their participation in Boys and Girls State. Greenville High was named the recipient of the Clean Campus Award.

– Approved the resignation of Raymond Little, bus driver; Rita Wright, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction; Medical leave (maternity) for Susan (Amy) McClellan, Gifted teacher at GES, and the transfer of Cherrie Rhodes-Lawson from SE Services Aide at GHS to same position at Bright Beginnings.

– Approved the advertisement of bids for server upgrades for the system’s technology department.

– Approved renewal of Alabama Risk Management General Liability/Errors and Omissions Liability Fund Participation

– Approved a lease agreement for the sum of $1,500 per year with Reid State Technical College for after-hours use of a classroom at Butler County Magnet School.