By Katy Savage
Killington Elementary School is slated to get a new roof next year.
The building’s roof is “leaking everywhere,” Jim Fenn, Windsor Central Supervisory Union’s director of finance and operations, told board members on July 12.
The project is estimated to cost up to $2 million for a new roof and insulation inside the building. Fenn said an architect is addressing the roof issues of the school, which dates back to the 1970s.
Joe Rigoli, the district’s buildings and grounds manager, said the contractors will likely build a new metal standing seam roof or an asphalt roof over the top of the existing roof.
“The school has massive heat loss coming out through the roof itself,” he said after the meeting.
Rigoli said the European-style roof is a “cold roof,” built to hold snow on top of it as insulation. Cold roofs are meant to prevent ice dams and leaks.
“What happens is the complete opposite,” Rigoli said, explaining there weren’t sufficient engineering studies done when the building was constructed.
Giant icicles form on the roof in the winter and “literally touch the ground,” he said, forming hazards for people walking by.
“In the winter it really does wreak havoc,” Rigoli said.
The project will be out to bid in January and upgraded next summer. At the same time, the board will put out a bid construction of a new $1 million heating system at Woodstock Union High School.
The School Board approved a $75,000 expense on July 12 so Dubois & King Inc. can complete an engineering study for a new heating system in addition to a $20,000 expense to band-aid the existing system this winter.
Rigoli said the high school portion of the 1950s building runs on steam.
“There’s just no repairing it anymore,” he said after the meeting. “There’s really not much more we can do. It was a daily struggle even to moderate the temperature in the building. Things are so old, they don’t function well.”
The $20,000 tune-up to replace gaskets and rebuild some pumps will be done before the next school year begins. Rigoli hopes to change the steam system to hot water and have a bid out in January to complete the work next summer.
Board members at the meeting discussed the pros and cons of replacing the heating system while they anticipate a new $80 million high school and middle school building in the not-too-distant future.
Some have questioned if the upgraded heating system could be used in the new building but the board has yet to decide what the new heat system will be in the new building and several board members emphasized the dire need to replace the heating system before it fails.
“If there’s anything that keeps me up at night, it’s not Covid anymore, it’s what’s going to be happening to that building,” Superintendent Sherry Sousa said.
The School Board’s buildings and grounds committee looked into using external classrooms, leasing another facility, and using heat pumps at the existing building before determining that converting the steam system to hot water was the least costly solution.
“We did our homework,” said board member Jim Haff.