ENFIELD, Maine — With its four skylights, open design, curvaceous roof, sturdy brick construction and, as buildings go, relative youth, Enfield Station School is an educational asset and an architectural pleasure, Jerry White says.
But its leaky metal roof makes it a maintenance nightmare, the SAD 31 superintendent says.
“One of the problems is you have snowbreaks up on the roof to stop the snow from sliding off, but then it [snow] builds up in the valleys of the roof, and it melts and freezes and it forces ice way up under the metal,” White said recently. “You end up getting a lot of leaks in the spring and fall, and ice and snow buildup in the winter.
“We literally in the middle of winter had to put plywood against the windows in the kindergarten and main office areas because we had ice coming down and covering everything,” White added.
Custodial staff used to set out as many as 50 buckets and many tarps to contain the indoor rain, said Bob Henderson, the school’s head custodian. Signs warning of the danger of falling ice are posted in several spots around the building.
But a $250,000 roof and skylight repair by Bowman Constructors of Newport and Roof Systems of Maine should fix that permanently, White said.
As of Monday, the skylights had been replaced and Roof Systems workers were finishing fitting about half the roof with a special membrane called Sarnafil to which snow and ice will not adhere, Roof Systems supervisor Bill Riordan said.
“We’re probably about 85 percent done. It’s great,” Riordan said Monday. “We’re putting the right material on the roof. They won’t have to worry about leaks for many a year.”
Sarnafil is “a specially formulated fiberglass reinforced thermoplastic sheet manufactured by a unique coating process that is specially compounded to remain watertight in a sub-grade environment of constant dampness, high alkalinity, exposure to plant roots, fungi, and bacterial organisms, as well as varying levels of hydrostatic pressure,” according to sarnafilus.com.
Bowman replaced the skylights within the last two months. Work for Roof Systems began about three weeks ago and will finish by late October, said Lee Corro, the company’s vice president.
The work and workers are much appreciated, said Enfield Station Principal Laura Cook. She said the roof leaked since the building opened in January 1994.
The bad roof stressed the school’s staff, especially its teachers, who often had to teach with the drip-drip-drip of falling water in their classrooms and move classroom items frequently to keep them dry.
“If you were a very neat and conscientious person who liked things organized, you were very frustrated,” Cook said.
Henderson estimated that replacing sodden or interior ceiling tiles cost the school $800 a year. Such tiles cost $8 apiece, he said. Rugs and equipment damaged by the water added to the costs.
“We are really excited about having this done,” Cook said.