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New Milford has to do emergency roof patching at high school

September 13, 2018

NEW MILFORD — Plans to replace the high school roof have been sped up since it was damaged when a macroburst tore through the area in May.

Mayor Pete Bass said earlier this week that the high school roof was regularly losing shingles, costing $10,000 to $15,000 a year to replace them.

Now, the roof is also leaking, prompting the town to patch it up for $200,000 while they work on a permanent replacement.

“We had a Band-Aid approach at the time, but the recent rains have made it worse,” said David Lawson, the school board chairman.

A timeline for the patching hasn’t been set though officials said it’s being done as quickly as possible. “We know we want to get it done properly and in a timely fashion,” Lawson said.

He said he couldn’t comment on the extent of the leaks, but said they “were enough to cause concern.”

Bass explained the situation at Wednesday’s Board of Finance meeting where he informed the members he was using the $200,000 now so they can address the leaks since they had become a health and safety issue. He said he will come back once the entire roof plan is set for approval from the school and finance boards, as well as Town Council and residents.

“I wanted (this presentation) as a courtesy to the Board of Finance because if this wasn’t an emergency, it would go through your body,” Bass said.

Sarah Noble Intermediate School, the high school and several town buildings will be included in a full roof replacement plan, which is expected to be completed by January. The town and schools are working together on the plan, including the approach and how to pay for it.

The high school roof involves the most decisions as officials look at whether it should be replaced with metal, as initially intended, or asphalt like it has now. An asphalt roof would have to be brought up to the new code standards, which would require additional expenses. There is also the possibility of adding solar panels to the high school.

Finance Director Greg Osipow said the emergency appropriation of $200,000 will come from the unassigned fund balance, but it will be refunded once the town receives the insurance money.

He said they want to get the patching done now before the winter comes and the leaks cause infrastructure damage.

“Right now we’re putting our finger in the dike as we plan for the future,” Osipow said.

kkoerting@newstimes.com; 203-731-3345

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