Roof replacement and masonry repair work begins at WHHS, middle school


School officials said last week that roof replacement and masonry repair work at West Hempstead High School and middle school are now under way, and that the project is expected to be finished before the end of the summer.

After determining that there was a need to reconstruct the roof at the high school and middle school — which are connected — the West Hempstead Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution on June 26, awarding the project to Proton Construction Corp. for $853,000. Repair work began on July 20, school officials said.

West Hempstead Deputy Superintendent Richard Cunningham said that he, along with BJLJ Engineers & Architects, based in Mineola, determined that the roof structure was in need of repair. The roof, Cunningham said, is just over 20 years old, and has a 20-year expected life-span.

“It’s a partial roof replacement,” Cunningham told the Herald on July 25. “There’s been some water infiltration. It was time to do this while the roof was at the end of its life, before we had big failures. The larger the issue, the more costly the project.”

With regard to the masonry repair work, Cunningham said that workers will also be doing brick replacement. “A lot of brick was going down,” he explained. “And rather then treat the project separately, we timed it for now.”

Cunningham said that the last time the roof was replaced was in 1990, because, he said, that roof was “coming to the end of its life.”

The new roof is under a 20-year warranty, held by Johns Manville — a Denver-based manufacturer and marketer of premium-quality products for building insulation, mechanical insulation, commercial roofing and roof insulation. The company also has a Roofing Systems location in Plattsburgh.

Cunningham said the summer season is an ideal time to do the work, because students are out of school. “If we can do this type of work when students aren’t in school, people are happier about it,” he said. “There are issues, such as noise and dust abatement, we have to address. We feel better about it. With heavy equipment around and the length of a work day, we can get more done.”

Despite the amount of work that must be completed, Cunningham said he is confident the repairs will pay off for the district in the long run, and he estimates that work will be completed before school is back in session.

“There are many things we need to get out of the way,” he said. “But just like a residential roof, you know when it’s time [for repairs].”