Recent spat of heavy weather responsible for damage to school
NARRAGANSETT - High winds and heavy rains created more grief for the town’s facilities team earlier this month, as the most recent ration of foul weather delivered another costly blow, tearing a large portion of the Narragansett Pier Middle School roof away from its bearings.
“When it started, we don’t know,” Gary F. Minett, facilities director, said at last week’s school committee meeting. “The last big wind storm we had caused the roof to come apart. It is a rubber roof that is glued to the insulation underneath. The glue held and the storm tore the insulation out.”
Minett discovered the problem while in his office. Employees heard a flapping noise and went outside and then up on the roof. The damage extended from one end of the building all the way to the other. Workers placed five gallon jugs of flooring chemicals along the roof to keep it down and alleviate leakage.
“With all the recent storms we’ve had - and there are too many to mention - most of them have had very high winds associated with them,” said Minett. “Either it began in one of those storms or whether it all happened in this storm, because of the amount of wind that passed over the roof, the sections at the pier school that we had not replaced with the bond money - the wind going over the top of the roof acted much like an airplane wing in the fact that It pulled on the adhered rubber roof,” he said.
“The glue on the bottom of the rubber actually held to the point where the wind tore the insulation that the rubber roof was glued to. All of the northern edge of the Pier School which is the piece that faces the side of the high school - the entire edge of that west wing roof and the wood shop actually lifted off the building and separated from the insulation.”
Emergency repairs were made Saturday, the day after the storm, to hold the roof down. Mckenna Roofing & Construction was called in on Saturday. The contractors placed temporary screw strips along the roof until approval could be obtained for permanent repairs.
The building’s insurer, Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management Trust, was notified and assessment was made for repairs estimated at $80,000 to $90,000. Contract was awarded to McKenna Roofing as an approved roofer for the trust. The project repair was estimated at approximately seven days, weather permitting.
The facilities department worked with Principal Dr. Marie-Elena Ahern to ensure the safety of the students during construction. Minimal disruption was anticipated with some students having their recess period moved to the front of the school.
“The roof ballooned,” said Minett. “It’s a first for me.”