Community Center roof slated for replacement

Published 11:43 am Thursday, July 27, 2023

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GATESVILLE – County officials will move forward with the first step of what will hopefully be a major renovation of the aging Gates County Community Center.

At their regularly scheduled meeting here last week, the Gates County Board of Commissioners listened as Michael Celauro with Summit Design and Engineering Services presented a facility assessment report on the deteriorating condition of the Community Center, the original portion of which was constructed in the 1970’s. The facility is operated by the county’s school system.

Summit Design and Engineering Services evaluated the condition of the Community Center, specifically the condition of the roof, and interior/exterior walls. Asbestos and lead testing were also carried out during the evaluation of the building in early May of this year.

Overall, the assessment of the building noted the roof, which is four different vertical segments, is in poor condition and is experiencing several deficiencies typical of its age. Celauro said the roof system should be completely removed down to the roof deck and replaced with a new system as soon as possible.

He also observed the roof’s gutter system is severely clogged, causing water to stand on the roof.

“Most of your water leaks are coming from your roof,” Celauro explained to the commissioners.

As for the walls, Celauro noted that the original building envelope construction is inadequate to prevent water infiltration into the facility. The current existing system slowly allows water in and then trapping it, resulting in active water leaks, moist walls, and peeling paint.

“Brick and cement block, which are what your walls are made of, are porous so they absorb water. There are no barriers there to block the water from seeping through and coming inside the building and causing the paint to peel off the interior walls,” he said.

Chrysotile asbestos was identified from material samples from the existing roofing system. Test results indicated that none of the sampled paint contain lead greater than the minimum amount allowed by OSHA.

He added that the caulking around the windows is also deteriorating due to constant moisture.

“The day we spent in our evaluation came just after a heavy rain, so it was ideal time to observe the numerous leaks in the building,” Celauro said. “There were active leaks, one day after the rainfall, in the gym and in the common area of the building.”

He stressed the importance of having a new roof installed immediately.

“That (roof) is your first line of defense from rain and weather,” Celauro stated. “As for the exterior walls, they are bringing water into the building. The recommendation there is to remove all of the exterior brick, put in a layer of moisture protection/water barrier and put all the brick back or replace it with newer material.”

Celauro added that Summit’s assessment of the building did not include mechanical, electrical or plumbing.

“They are probably past their life expectancy and it would be wise to inspect those elements of the building,” he noted.

As a building repair expert, Commissioner Jonathan Craddock, the board’s vice chair, said he was of the opinion that the roof is the number one priority to replace.

“If we can think far enough ahead, we need to explore the options of how to tie the new roof into fixing the side walls at a later time and to install new flashing and a gutter system to order to allow the constant removal of water from the roof,” Craddock said.

The county does have money set aside for repairs at the Community Center. County Manager Scott Sauer said there are other requests for special appropriations from the North Carolina General Assembly for further repairs to the building.

“Hopefully there will be some financial relief to offset the costs associated with the repairs needed for the Community Center,” Sauer said.

Craddock made a motion to move forward with the roof replacement. Commissioner Linda Hofler offered a second and the motion was approved without objection.

Dr. Althea Riddick, board chair, said a grant application has been made through the Albemarle Commission in the amount of $3 million for repairs to the Community Center.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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