Lawmakers support school construction legislation

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State representatives Rosa Rebimbas (R-70) and David Labriola (R-131).
State representatives Rosa Rebimbas (R-70) and David Labriola (R-131).

HARTFORD — A bill to allow school building projects to conform to the standard building code for roof construction received support from state representatives Rosa Rebimbas (R-70) and David Labriola (R-131) Wednesday.

Rebimbas and Labriola said, in a press release, the legislation will lead to substantial savings for school districts.

The bill (S.B. 929), among other items, changes the minimum roof pitch required on school roofs for them to be eligible for a state reimbursement from a half-inch per foot to the standard in the state building code, which is currently a quarter-inch per foot. Current law authorizes the quarter-inch pitch in some circumstances.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses on Tuesday night approved a $974,000 bid from Silktown Roofing of Manchester to replace the roof on Maple Hill Elementary School in Naugatuck.

Rebimbas said by allowing the use of the industry standard building code for roof construction Naugatuck will potentially save more than $800,000 on the project.

“I am happy anytime we can help a school district responsibly save money,” Rebimbas said.

Under current law, a school roof pitch must be at least a half-inch per foot to be eligible for state reimbursement. But the Department of Construction Services commissioner may allow a quarter-inch per foot for a total roof replacement if the reduction will not impede drainage or cause pooling of water that may leak into the building to a greater degree than that of a roof with a minimum a half-inch per foot, according to the release. The cost of the half-inch pitch would be substantially greater or take substantially longer, and the building would have to be substantially rebuilt to support a half-inch pitch.

“This legislation provides substantial savings for school districts across the state, including Naugatuck, without sacrificing a school’s structural integrity or forcing districts to undertake time-consuming and expensive rebuilding projects to comply with the old law,” Labriola said.