Through the roof

MARQUETTE – Problems with the original construction of Cherry Creek Elementary School’s roof are coming to light, nearly 20 years after it was built.

The school, located off Cherry Creek Road in Harvey, has been receiving a new roof this summer, but according to Integrated Designs Inc. representative Sean LaRock, what was hiding beneath the shingles was a surprise to everyone.

“We started seeing these issues almost immediately when we started the roof demolition at Cherry Creek school,” LaRock said, addressing the Marquette Area Public Schools Board of Education during its regular meeting Monday night.

LaRock, whose firm designed the new roof, said many “standard construction practices” had been ignored when the original roof was built.

“It’s pretty much standard construction, where you have a building wrap that goes over your exterior sheathing, your window systems are taped at the perimeter, everything is caulked and sealed, flashing and counter-flashing,” LaRock said. “So, none of this was done.”

The construction flaws were causing many of the problems the school has seen recently, including leaks in the building due to poor weatherproofing and ice build-up due to little or no ventilation at the roof’s highest level, LaRock said.

The roof cupolas were where most of the issues were found, LaRock said.,

“It was a situation where there was plywood over the structure of the cupola itself and then siding was placed right on top of it,” LaRock said. “So, it was not a weather-tight situation, so with any type of snow or rain, it was just penetrating that.”

To fix the problems, LaRock said an additional $35,800 will be needed.

However, only a portion of the roof has been ripped off and LaRock said there may be more problems hidden beneath what’s left of the original roofing.

Interim Superintendent Bill Saunders said he called Thrun Law Firm after being informed of the problems, hoping the district may be able to recoup some of the additional costs from the original contractors.

“It seems to me like, ultimately, they’re kind of responsible for these overruns,” Saunders said. “I wouldn’t say they’re responsible for the entire re-roofing because we know every 20 years or whatever, we’re going to have to re-roof the building, but there’s no reason we should be replacing windows and dealing with some of this other damage. To me, that’s the fault of the constructor.”

The roof is original to the building, which was built using a bond issuance in 1994.

The district contracted with Barton Malow, a large design firm with offices across the country, including in downstate Southfield.

The bid to replace the roof was awarded to Premeau Construction Inc. in April for $220,700.

On Monday, the board approved the additional cost of $35,800 with a 6-0 vote.

Trustee Brian Cherry did not attend the meeting.

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.