Cheshire High School’s West Gym has closed as work begins on a project to replace the roof, which school officials believe was damaged in Hurricane Sandy.
The Board of Education has approved a $219,000 contract with Silktown Roofing of Manchester to replace the gym roof.
The first phase of the project, which involves installing overflow drains, was supposed to begin last Monday but was postponed until Wednesday because of weather, said Vincent Masciana, director of management services for the school district. The actual roof replacement is set to begin next week and the entire project should take about eight days, he said.
Masciana said the gym will be closed for classes and after-hours activities during the project. He said that dirt and dust will need to be cleaned and the gym aired out before it can re-open. Tests were done and there are no asbestos concerns, he added.
Masciana said the work will be done in sections and the roofer will only remove what can be replaced each day.
Officials said a building maintainer discovered a major failure with the roof about three weeks ago when he noticed the rubber membrane across half of the 11,000-square-foot roof had shifted, displacing an underlying layer of insulation and leaving metal bolts exposed.
Since parts of the membrane are now resting on the bolts, Masciana
said it was only a matter of time before they tore through and caused a leak. Officials said fixing the problem before the next heavy snowfall was crucial.
Masciana said a combination of the roof’s age and winds from Hurricane Sandy likely caused the damage. He said the gym roof is 21 years old and while school officials recommended replacement in 2011 during a larger roof replacement job at the high school, the plans were scrapped because funding wasn’t available.
Masciana said the project is eligible for a 40 percent reimbursement from the state and may also qualify for reimbursement from FEMA and the town’s insurance company if it is confirmed that the damage was storm-related.
Cheshire High School Athletic Director Steve Trifone said classes and activities will be moved to the East Gym during the project and basketball practices will be held at Cheshire Academy.