WPSS, BCS get ready for winter

Published 8:54 am Sunday, November 4, 2012

By Lucy Parker

The Daily News

Updates on some ongoing roof problems at the public schools in Washington Parish and what is being done to prepare the facilities for the upcoming chilly winter days have been provided by each school systems’ maintenance department head.

Roof repair projects are either under way or recently completed at four Washington Parish School System schools, Supervisor of Maintenance Billy Brignac said.

Franklinton Elementary School has been experiencing problems with roof leaks for the past year, and Pace Roofing has been called in to action to do some warranty work, Brignac said. When the roof was initially constructed, the rafters were placed too far apart. Thus, the plywood is sagging in the middle, which allows the wind to blow rain underneath. The system, he said, is working on getting the sagging plywood and the shingles in those areas replaced.

The way the nails were driven in, with some hitting cracks or holes in the plywood, is a contributing factor in the leak issue, Brignac said.

“If they’re not anchored properly, the sun, over a period of time, will kind of pull them back through the shingles and you can see the head penetrating though the shingles,” he said. “That’s happening some also and causing leaks around those. That will be replaced also.”

Finally, some of the gabled end flashings will have to be replaced, since water is sometimes blown around that part of the roof by the wind during heavy rains, Brignac said.

Over at Franklinton Junior High, a company called R&R Roofing is prepping to begin work, Brignac said. Several years ago, the flat roof at the school was covered with a rubber material. To keep rainwater from leaking down though the walls, the rubber roofing “rolls up along the bricks on the outer edges of the roof,” he said. The company, he said, has been tasked with replacing the flashing around the rubber roof.

KTS Construction recently finished reroofing the gymatorium at Thomas Elementary School, Brignac said. The roof was partially redone when the school was remodeled. Then more issues were discovered, he said.

“We started noticing leaks, and so we just decided to go ahead and redo the whole gymatorium,” he said.

Two companies were called in to work on the roof at Pine High School, Brignac said. Similar to Franklinton Elementary, Pine High was experiencing a problem with “sagging plywood between rafters and the wind blowing the rain up through the shingles,” he said. Nobles Construction recently wrapped up a job replacing the plywood and shingles, he said.

There are gable vents, called dormers, on the roof at Pine High that allow air to flow through the attic, Brignac said. Those were leaking and had to be replaced, he said. Additionally, the ridge gap on the cafeteria was replaced because it had not been properly installed and rain was being blown under it by the wind, he said.

“On the gym and the cafeteria, everywhere we had a penetration — like around vent pipes coming through the roof, the exhaust for the stove in the cafeteria — all those penetrations through the roof were leaking in places and we redid all those around the penetration,” he said. “We redid all the flashing and properly supported those, so we took care of all those leaks there.”

The replacement of the dormers and the work on the cafeteria and gym was completed by R&R Roofing, Brignac said.

Bogalusa High School is the only place where the Bogalusa City School System is currently experiencing any roof issues, Maintenance Coordinator Vic Boyles said.

“Our roofs are in pretty good shape,” he said. “We’re doing a little roof work and some guttering work at the high school.”

The Washington Parish system monitors weather conditions and lets the schools know what actions need to be taken if extremely cold weather is on the way, Brignac said. Typically, he said, the schools will be asked to leave the heating systems running on low throughout the night if frigid conditions are forecast.

“We leave the heat on in the buildings so they won’t be so cold in the mornings,” he said.

Some of the schools, Brignac said, do not have heating in the restrooms. When necessary, those facilities are told to add antifreeze to the commode tanks and bowls to keep the water from freezing, he said.

The Bogalusa schools are also getting ready for winter, Boyles said.

“The main thing we do for winter is prep the boilers for wintertime,” he said. “Most of the schools are heated by the old-timey boilers.”

In another aspect of its cold weather preparation, the system is replacing as many windows as it can with the funding available, Boyles said. The windows in Denhamtown Elementary School’s cafeteria are currently being replaced, and work is under way at Bogalusa High, he said.

“We’re going into the second phase of renovation at the high school,” he said. “We’re installing new windows and doors in a portion of the school.