By SHERIDAN ROY
During the 2018 election, voters approved a referendum question that would allow for roof repairs at the Southington High School. That work has begun this summer, and is on target to be completed before the start of the 2019-20 school year.
The project was approved at an estimated cost of $2.6 million, but at this time, officials say the project will not cost quite that much in the end.
“We have awarded total contracts of $1,794,000 between the roofing contractor, architect and project manager,” said Southington Public Schools director of operations Peter Romano. “Barring any major unforeseen issues, we will be well under the estimate at the completion of the project.”
The contract was awarded to Silktown Roofing out of Manchester. The project encompasses approximately 70,000 square feet of roof repairs covering the auditorium, athletic office, freshman cafeteria and the technology education area.
Prior to the start of construction, the previous roof was designed to last 20 years. It outlasted that lifespan estimate by 10 years, but was in poor conditions and in need of regular repairs and patches. There was potential for damage to props, lighting and sound equipment in the auditorium as leaks were sprung.
Repairs to the roof are nearing 50 percent completion already, and Romano said substantial completion will be achieved by Aug. 15.
“We were able to get 30 years out of the roof that is being replaced,” said Romano. “The manufacturer warranties the roof for 20 years. With proper maintenance, we hope to achieve another 30 year life cycle with the new roof.”
Before the elected town leaders approved the project last year, the state of Connecticut committed to a partial reimbursement for work on the roof. That helped officials in their decision to approve the $2.6 million project and send it to voters for final approval.
“The state of Connecticut sets the reimbursement rates for each municipality,” Romano said. “The state has committed to a 54.64 percent reimbursement rate of eligible final project costs for this partial roof replacement.”
The school system maintains about 800,000 square feet of roof across all schools in the district. The next roof replacement project will also take place at the high school.
“The roof over the main portion of the high school and freshman wing was installed in 1995,” Romano said. “It will be the next roof that needs to be replaced.”
That portion is approximately 121,000 square feet. There is no designated timeline yet for that project.
Voters overwhelmingly approved the project in the 2018 election. A total of 14,327 voted “yes” for the project, while just 4,879 voted “no.” A total of 71.7 percent of eligible voters came out on Election Day last year for a total of 20,633 voters.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.