By MIKE ANTHONY
Work to replace the roof at the newly constructed Oakville Elementary School could begin during spring break, Dwight Dickin-son of Dickinson Hussman Architects told the Mehlville Board of Education last week.
A brand-new Oakville Elementary School at 2911 Yaeger Road welcomed pupils Sept. 2 for the first day of classes for the 2004-2005 school year.
However, Assistant Superintendent for Finance Randy Charles, who also serves as the district’s chief financial officer, told the Board of Education in November that the elementary school’s roof “does not meet the specifications of the architect nor does it meet the expectations of the Mehlville School District.
“The contractor is aware of that, is in the process of developing a response, but one thing that is clear, it is an issue that the contractor is responsible for, both in terms of performing the corrected work and bearing the financial responsibility will be on the shoulders of the contractor …,” he added.
As part of the Proposition P districtwide building im-provement program, the new Oakville Elementary School was built on the same property as the previous Oakville Elementary, which was razed after the 2002-2003 school year. Current projections place the total cost of the new school at $8,046,935.
The McCarthy Construction Co. had served as construction manager for Proposition P since the inception of the districtwide building improvement program, but its formal involvement ended Oct. 31.
The Northstar Management Co. is serving as the district’s owner/agent for the remaining Proposition P projects, including the construction of a new early childhood center and renovations at Forder, Hagemann and Rogers elementary schools.
During the Jan. 20 board of Education meeting, Super-intendent Tim Ricker asked Dwight Dickinson of Dick-inson Hussman Architects to bring Board of Education members “up to date on the Oakville Elementary roof, where we’re at in that process?”
Dickinson replied, “Sure. We had one meeting with the contractor and McCarthy, who is staying involved to get that issue resolved. At the last meeting we had the general works contractor who’s responsible for the roof, has taken responsibility to replace that roof. We are meeting tomorrow (Friday) again, this time with the idea of getting a schedule so that we can begin planning to have this roof replaced. We talked last time and I’m sure the schedule will reflect it when we see it tomorrow that they will begin the roof replacement over spring break so some of that additional tear-off work, which, as we all know and I’ve said it from day one when we started all this work, safety is absolutely the No. 1 priority here, and we don’t want anything taking place that might possibly endanger somebody.
“So we want to get some of that tear-off work done, particularly where the front entrance is so that when school comes back after spring break, that area has been taken care of and we’ll be moving around the building, doing it in phases.
“It’s not going to be able to be torn off all at one time because what they want to do is to make sure that when they do a tear-off, when they walk away that night that there is at least protection on that roof so in case we do get any bad weather that the inside of the building will be protected. But we are moving forward and the contractor has agreed to replace the roof and now it’s simply a matter of getting it scheduled,” Dickinson said.
As soon as the schedule is finalized, he said he would provide it to board members.
Board Vice President Matthew Chellis said, “Dwight, is there any reason not to wait until school’s out?”
Dickinson said, “The only issue there, Matt, I think is right now we’re going through some pretty rough weather, the freeze and the thaw cycle that you’re seeing … That roof, to some degree, you’re beginning to see more and more of the damage appear and I think the thought pro-cess is we need to get in there and try to begin the roof replacement as quickly as possible. So I think it was pretty much agreed by everybody that we really did not want to wait until this summer. We wanted to get it started as soon as possible …”
Board member Rita Diekemper said, “I just I had a question; I guess this is for Randy or Dwight regarding the close-out of McCarthy.”
Charles said, “Through our last several meetings with DHA and McCarthy, we’ve identified approximately five to six items items that we’re requiring McCarthy to stay involved in. One of those items is the Oakville Elemen-tary School roof. We believe that by probably the middle of next week, all of those issues will have been addressed and completed with the exception of the Oakville Ele-mentary School roof.
“I’m also working on language — a letter from Mc-Carthy, putting in writing their commitment to stay involved with the Oakville Elementary School roof project through completion. So that once we have that in place, then we may come back to the board and consider whether we release all or part of the money we’re still withholding,” he said, noting the district is withholding its final payment to McCarthy, roughly $74,000.
During the November board meeting, Charles outlined the concerns about the elementary school’s roof to board members, noting that a subcontractor performed the work and the problems were “a combination of issues” that first surfaced when “nail pops” were discovered.
“The nails that were holding down the plywood decking were beginning to pop out and you could see them even from underneath, coming out from underneath the shingles,” he said at the Nov. 18 board meeting. “It’s a combination of things. We did realize that there was a structural bracing between the rafters that had been omitted. It doesn’t — it’s not going to compromise the structural integrity of that roof in the short term, but over a period of time it could allow for shifting of the roof, which will, as I said, over a period of time allow leaks to generate.
“So that has to be addressed,” Charles continued. “Also, some of the plywood decking was not properly attached to the rafters. The wrong nails were used. That has to be addressed. And thirdly, even when the shingles were installed, they were not overlapped sufficiently … In some areas, the nails holding the shingles in place actually are exposed. Again, that’s a potential for a leak …”