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Raise the roof – HJSHS roof nears completion

Hail damage covered by school insurance, HJSHS projected finished this month. East Elementary next up for new roof installation.

DEMOLITION – Humboldt Jr./Sr. High School principal, Carla Brown, chats with a roofing superintendent Filoberto Mejia on top of the school building. This section of roof is being demolished and hauled off as they prepare to install a brand new 30-year roof. The roof was badly damaged during a hail storm last year. Insurance is covering most of the repairs. Some of the HVAC units were also destroyed and had to replaced as well.

by Danny Wade

When a hailstorm hit parts of Humboldt last year, many businesses and houses were affected. Two schools, Humboldt Jr./Sr. High School and East Elementary School, both receive substantial roof damage. Luckily, insurance on the buildings will cover the repairs.

Last week, HJSHS principal Carla Brown, climbed on top of the school building to see the progress. Jay Wells and Filoberto Mejia, with Frazier Roofing out of Dyersburg, Tenn. explained the process of installing a new roof. They said there are five layers in the process.

But prior to installation, the old roof had to be completely removed, all the way down to the concrete tiles of the original construction. Last Wednesday, crews were removing the original roofing materials on the final section of the building. The insulation decking was damages from large hailstones, leaving holes and divots. The crew was using pick axes, spades and shovels to bust up the material, then load wheelbarrows full and dumping into a bin that was strapped to the forks of an extension lift. When the bin got full, the driver dumped the bin into a large construction waste bin.

Wells said his crew hired Buddy Laster’s services for the large waste bins and dumping them.

Interim Superintendent Lillian Shelton said the crew is doing a good job working with the school and trying not to disturb student learning in the process. Shelton admitted she will be glad when the project is completed and things can get back to normal.

Principal Brown said there have been a few challenges along the way but nothing major. The biggest concern is student and staff safety.

Wells agreed. He said the project was divided into sections. When roofers were working on one section, student in the classrooms underneath were moved to other classrooms in a different area for safety. Ironically, Wells said the pandemic has actually helped with this portion of the plan since many students are not attending in person.

Brown said by not having a school full of students, only a small amount had to be moved from one classroom to another.

Wells explained the engineering of the multi-layered roof. The bottom layer of roofing is installed directly on the concrete tiles and then sealed. A layer of insulation panels is put in place. Each panel is approximately 4×4 ft. and the thickness is tapered on one side. The entire roof was scoped out in grids, which determined which tiles go where. This creates a slope across the entire roof for drainage, either into gutters or roof drains. Another layer of hot tar and roofing material is installed. The final layer is a coating with UV protection to protect the surface from the sun’s harmful, deteriorating rays.

Wells said the combination of layers and the insulation will increase the R-value and school officials should see a reduction in heating and cooling bills.

Early on in the project, new HVAC units were installed to replace older units damaged by hail. Those had to be installed first before the new roof could be installed.

Lee Walker with The Garland Company out of Memphis, Tenn. said he job for the junior/senior high school is 95,000 square feet and East Elementary is 78,000 square feet. The total cost for both is $5M.

The roof work involved a two-layer tear off, down to the decking material and full replacement with an entirely new 30-year warranty roof, according to Walker.

COMPLETED ROOF – Filoberto Mejia and HJSHS principal Carla Brown look at the newly finished roof on this section of the building. The final layer has a UV coating that reflects the sun and should help with the school’s utility bills.

The HJSHS roof project began last September and is on schedule to be finished in March. On any given day, there are approximately 25 workers on hand.

Once the high school roof is complete, the crew will pack up and head to East Elementary where the same process of replacing the entire roof will take place.

Wells believes the East roof will be a much quicker project since the building is smaller and the roof does not have the same materials to be removed as the high school building. The timeline on East Elementary roof installation has a September completion expectancy.

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