Voices

EVMS roof doesn’t need to be replaced

East Valley Middle School Principal Mark Purvive examines one of 37 refurbished drain areas on the roof of the school, Wed., Sept. 23, 2009. The school has been plagued with roof leaks for years, but crews from Spokane Commercial Roofing found the main 50,000 sq. ft. roof to be in relatively good shape and determined that a new emulsion layer of tar and gravel around the drains could fix the problem rather than reroofing the entire school.bartr@spokesman.com (J. BART RAYNIAK / The Spokesman-Review)
East Valley Middle School Principal Mark Purvive examines one of 37 refurbished drain areas on the roof of the school, Wed., Sept. 23, 2009. The school has been plagued with roof leaks for years, but crews from Spokane Commercial Roofing found the main 50,000 sq. ft. roof to be in relatively good shape and determined that a new emulsion layer of tar and gravel around the drains could fix the problem rather than reroofing the entire school.bartr@spokesman.com (J. BART RAYNIAK / The Spokesman-Review)

For years East Valley Middle School has been plagued by leaks after heavy rains, with large garbage cans set up in the hallways to catch the water cascading out of light fixtures. The district’s lean repair budget, however, wasn’t able to pay to replace the original 1968 roof.

Principal Mark Purvine got a welcome surprise this week when a crew from Spokane Commercial Roofing inspected the roof and reported that they could fix a few drainage issues for $15,000 and end the problems with leaks. It’s a far cry from the six-figure price for a new roof.

“We really felt as though we had perforations or breaks in the roof system,” said Purvine.

Instead the problem was that some large areas of the 50,000 square foot flat roof were only served by one drain. During heavy rain or snow melt, the drains would be overwhelmed and pools of standing water would accumulate up to depths of 14 inches. That much water saturated the roof. “That’s what’s been causing the leakage,” he said.

The large roof has only 37 drains, which Purvine compares to the six downspouts he has on his home, which is much smaller. “That’s a lot of water that has to be redirected.”

Investigation has shown that the roof uses a Tremco system with five layers of roofing material over a half-inch thick layer of fiberboard over a much thicker layer of fiberglass-based paneling. It’s a top of the line system that turns out to be in good condition despite its advanced age, Purvine said. It was the age of the roof and the constant leaks that convinced district maintenance staff that there must be something wrong with it.

“It was fairly easy to accept the notion that the roof was wearing out and needed to be replaced,” Purvine said. “It felt like the whole roof was in really bad shape.”

The roofing crew spent the last week redirecting water flow on some sections of the roof and shoring up and retarring the drain areas. Purvine said the roofers’ report states that if a new emulsion layer is put down in the next two or three years, the roof should be good for several more years.

“It’s a huge relief,” he said. “I have a much better understanding of the system.”

Purvine took a trip up to the roof to check on the repairs during the week. “It looks good,” he said. “Those guys are just doing a tremendous job.”

Purvine is confident that the repairs will do the trick. “We’re not going to have leaks anymore,” he said.

During the next big rainstorm, he’ll find out if he’s right.



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