Schools need roofs


The roof at Western Elementary School in Naugatuck is slated to be replaced. –REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
The roof at Western Elementary School in Naugatuck is slated to be replaced. –REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

NAUGATUCK — An elementary school on the borough’s west side may soon go green.

Education officials are considering placing solar panels on Western Elementary School as part of a roof replacement project that is slated to begin over the summer.

The borough’s five-year capital projects committee has recommended replacing the rooftops at Western and Hillside Intermediate School. The rooftops were last replaced in 1993 and 1994, officials said. The borough has received preliminary specifications from architects about how much the projects would cost.

The rough estimate, which Naugatuck has received from Kaestle Boos Associates of New Britain, states that it could cost $715,000 to replace the roof at Hillside, $565,000 to replace the Western roof and an additional $90,000 to put solar panels on the roof at Western.

The borough does not want to try putting solar panels on Hillside’s roof because it’s a historic building in a historic area, and because officials worry about potential vandalism since there is a road above the roof, said Burgess Bob Neth, chair of the five-year capital projects committee.

Controller Bob Butler is applying to the state for reimbursement of the project, which would come after completion. Naugatuck is eligible for up to 75 percent reimbursement for school building projects.

Once the reimbursement is approved, Naugatuck can go out to bid for the roof replacements.

The Kaestle Boos roof observation report states that the roof systems at Western are “well past their anticipated life expectancy, as evidenced by the numerous patches which indicate a history of leaks.”

Currently, there are leaks in the cafeteria, which have caused missing tiles and caught the attention of the state Department of Public Health, which wrote to the borough that it must be repaired as soon as possible.

“When weather is warmer, the roof needs repair,” a DPH inspector wrote in an inspection report from February.

The Kaestle Boos report also states that the roof at Western “was installed with a totally flat deck, which does not meet code and results in large areas of standing water. In addition, the drains in these areas appear to have been installed at a higher elevation than the surrounding areas, aggravating an already unacceptable condition that does not allow the roof surface to fully drain.”

The Kaestle Boos report recommends removing the existing Western and Hillside school roofs down to the decks. And the report states the problems at Hillside are similar to those at Western, although there are no public health concerns about that Hillside’s cafeteria.

“Repairing these roofs is not feasible due to their general overall poor condition,” the report states.