Stokes County School Board members learned Monday that the roof at Chestnut Grove Middle School is in worse shape than originally thought, raising concerns that it may need to be repaired as soon as possible, a project that is expected to cost over $1 million.
Maintenance Director Ricky Goins told the board that a recent contractor had brought the issue to his attention after noticing the degradation of the school’s roof’s membrane, a rubber covering that is supposed to be very flexible.
“We had a leak, and after they fixed it the contractor sent me some samples of the membrane,” said Goins, passing a brittle, crumbling sample around. “The contractor said he felt we needed to know that it is at the point that even just walking across the roof could damage it.”
Goins noted that the school had a variety of heating and cooling equipment on the roof which required regular maintenance.
“People are up there all the time,” he said, noting that the sample had come from the main building where most of the classrooms were.
“This roof is 26 years old,” said Director of Operations David Burge. “The normal life of a roof of this type is 20 years. Fixing this is a must. We are going to have to do this one regardless of anything else.”
Several board members questioned whether they needed to go to the county to request emergency funding to start repairs immediately, citing concerns over what additional damage could be caused during harsh winter weather.
Burge said it would take at least two months to bid the project, at which point the school system and county government would already be in the midst of planning for next year’s budget.
“Even if we had the money right now it would be a minimum of two months before any work could begin,” he said.
Board Chair Sonya Cox said the school system could not afford to handle the project without getting additional funding from the county.
Board Member Pat Messick requested the school system let the County Commissioners know about the problem so they could begin planning for funding.
“We need to alert them very soon,” she said. “That part of the roof is over the heads of the school children sitting at their desks. That is a very concerning situation.”
The board agreed to send the Commissioners a letter updating them on the situation.
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.