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Solmonese School Roof Repair Cost Increases

$575,000 more will be sought in Fall Town Meeting.

The School Committee will ask for $575,000 more towards replacing the J. C. Solmonese Elementary School roof at Town Meeting later this month.

This request for funds comes after the May Town Meeting, in which voters approved $925,000 to go towards the roof. A roof replacement has been on the capital improvements list for the past few years. Staff members are said to dodge leaks whenever it rains.

Altogether, the project will cost $1.5M, which is what the article will request. The Massachusetts School Building Authority will reimburse approximately 56 percent of it.

“What we will get back on the $1.5 will be approximately $830,000 and Norton’s share will be $662,000,” said Barry Nectow, director of operations and finance.

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The next step in the process is to submit the feasibility study to the MSBA in December. The project will either be be approved or accepted January.

An engineer was hired in December to assess the condition of the roof so documentation of a professional opinion could be obtained. As Nectow predicted, the engineer recommended the complete replacement of the roof, estimating the cost to be the aforementioned $925,000. After the funds were approved at Town Meeting, a feasibility study was done and a hard budget was created. At that time it was determined that the funds were insufficient.

“We’ve settled on a number to do an appropriate project here for $1.5M, or a $575,000 increase,” Nectow said.

Nectow said the costs of the feasibility study, contingency funds and the hiring of the operational project manager and architect engineer were the reasons for the increase. The feasibility study cost $35,000, a cushion of $129,000 was set aside in case of unforeseen problems and the project manager and engineer cost $200,000.

The project will consist of the complete demolition of the current roof. A PVC membrane will be installed and sealed with fiber. It will meet Mass Stretch Energy code. It will come with a 20 year warranty. 

“We will have active bidding when we bid it out, which will make for good pricing,” Nectow said.

If approved, work on the roof will begin on the last day of school, Wednesday, June 19, and be completed before school is back in session in September.

J. C. Solmonese Elementary School was built in the 70s. “Much of the roof is original,” Nectow said. Repairs were last made in 1990 when the school caught fire.  

The next school roof to keep an eye on, according to Nectow, is Norton Middle School. Though the school is less than 15 years old, he said the roof has been problematic since it was installed.

“But I think that's years down the road,” he said.

Town Meeting will take place 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29 in the Norton Middle School auditorium.

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