COLUMBIANA - It's been a long time coming but South Side Middle School is finally getting a new roof.
Superintendent Don Mook said Boak & Sons began tearing away the existing roof last week and the project is coming along on schedule.
The Youngstown company was the lowest bidder on the state term contract with Duro-Last, the manufacturer chosen by the board at its March meeting.
Boak & Sons already has a maintenance contract with the district and had actually presented on Duro-Last's behalf at the March meeting where two other companies also presented.
The district's contract with Duro-Last was for roughly $500,000 with $75,000 additional for the requested tapering.
Mook said the new roof should be completed by Aug. 4, falling in line with the district's plans to have it finished before the next school year.
Students in the 1962 edition of the building were moved to the 1969 section of the building and Joshua Dixon Elementary during the 2013-14 school year.
The district was originally hoping to install a new pitched roof using tax money generated from a 29-year bond issue, but voters rejected that option three times, beginning with the August 2012 special election.
The existing 50-year-old roof was leaking, causing ceiling damage and other water-related problems, which Mook and the board said were becoming a hazard for students. The district lobbied for the bond on the basis that there wasn't enough money available to pay for the necessary expense. A pitched roof was last estimated at upwards of $1 million.
With the bond failed, the board agreed to use general fund money to pay for a new flat roof.
"It's pretty incredible when you look at the volume of material that they delivered to our school," Mook said.
Boak began tearing the existing roof away from the seventh- and eighth-grade section.
"They are tearing off roof that they weren't completely aware was underneath. There are two layers of roofing on the seventh- and eighth-grade section," he said.
That two layers of roofing existed was questioned by the board during the manufacturer presentations in February, with some manufacturers claiming it was one layer alone.
Mook said as the roof continues to be torn away, it may be that some sections only had one layer while others had two. The roof being removed consists of two layers of foam insulation with gravel that is about six inches thick.
"The amount of weight that will come off that building will be incredible, and what will be put back up will be minimal," he said.
Boak has already installed between two and a half and four inches of new insulation and vinyl roofing material over the middle school media center.
"They are making a great deal of progress already. They are starting at 5 a.m., trying to do as much as they can in the daylight hours without rain," he said.
One downside of the lighter roof is that it may cause some shifting of the building as it adjusts to the change, he added, noting that should that happen, the district will look into getting that fixed.