Board OKs roof repairs for GDC building

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The General DataComm building in downtown Naugatuck. –RA ARCHIVE
The General DataComm building in downtown Naugatuck. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — The Board of Mayor and Burgesses July 2 approved a contract for roof repairs to the General DataComm building.

The contract with Brown Roofing of Naugatuck is for $13,500 and will cover patching areas of the roof where it is leaking.

Public Works Director James Stewart said the leaks are causing problems for those working in the building.

“There are elevators that have been taken offline by the state because the water is leaking into the elevator shafts,” Stewart said.

Stewart said the elevators can’t be brought back online until the roof is patched and the elevators are inspected.

Naugatuck purchased the General DataComm property on Rubber Avenue, including the building, for $2 million earlier this year. The property is believed by officials to be key to Naugatuck’s downtown revival and owning it allows the borough to control its destiny.

According to Stewart, who walked the roof with Brown Roofing, part of the problem stems from the fact that the previous patches were not installed correctly.

“Apparently it’s been patched inappropriately for years,” Stewart said.

The roof is covered with rocks and, when the patch was put in, the previous companies would rake the rocks away and lay the patch, but not rake the rocks back, Stewart said. This would cause the patch to shrink and tear, causing more of the roof to tear and reopening the leak, he said.  

Stewart added the air conditioners and air handlers on the roof have also been tearing away, causing slow leaks.

“It’s just a mess throughout,” Stewart said.

Stewart said he asked Brown Roofing about replacing the whole roof and was told it would cost around $1 million.

Burgess Michael Bronko asked if the work will plug up all of the holes in the roof.

Stewart said that the patches will fix the current problems, but they are not permanent solutions.

Burgess Ron San Angelo questioned if there is a plan in place for future replacement of the roof.

Mayor Robert Mezzo said the borough’s intention is to wait and see what response the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation receives from the expressions of interest from developers for downtown. He felt that the estimate to replace the roof was on the low side, as he has heard higher estimates.

Stewart said given the cost of replacing the entire roof having the roof patched is a more economical way to move forward.

“To me, until that building is fully utilized, you should keep patching it even if you had to be there on a monthly basis,” Stewart said.