Architect to offer insight on roofs

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Buckingham County School Board voted 5-1 Wednesday, Feb. 10, to pass a motion to acquire an architect to look at all the problems facing Buckingham County High School roofs and to give solutions on how to proceed.

Board Vice Chair and Slate River member Thomas Hutcherson Jr. was the lone dissenting vote. Maysville board member Joii W. Goodman was absent from the meeting.

The vote was preceded by a motion that failed, two withdrawn motions and a lengthy discussion among board members regarding the roofs, which have several leaks that were pointed out in a presentation during the meeting by Buckingham County Public Schools (BCPS) Director of Facilities Norman Heslip.

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The failed motion was to repair the bad spots on the roofs and then do maintenance on high school and preschool flat roofs with year-end funds, if available.

The motion failed 4-2, with Hutcherson and Board Chair and Gold Hill member Theresa D. Bryant being the only votes in favor.

During his presentation, Heslip showed interior and exterior pictures of where the leaks are located at the high school, including but not limited to the main section of the school, the library, the science wing and the concourse area going into the gymnasium and cafeteria. He noted that the school features key roofing work done in 1939, 1960 and 1993, with transitions joining the work together.

“We’ve got a lot of transitions, and anybody who does roofing will tell you transitions are where you have leaks,” he said.

During the course of discussion among board members, Heslip read a note underscoring the perspective of the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors on the roof issue. He stated that the board wants the roofs temporarily fixed to repair leaks. However, supervisors want a quote on how much it would cost to put an A-Frame metal roof to replace the flat roofs. At the present time, the board wishes the school to use the cheapest, most efficient repair cost for a temporary fix because the board will consider bids for repairing the flat roofs versus replacing the roofs.

After two motions by the school board were withdrawn, BCPS Superintendent Dr. Daisy Hicks made a recommendation at the meeting.

“I would like to make a recommendation that we fix the problem areas, just fix what’s the problem,” she said, adding that if BCPS has money left over this year, at the end of the year, then it could go ahead and make the necessary repairs to put the roofs back under warranty and possibly be able to do the preschool roof that is next on the list.

She later added that if BCPS does not have any money left over after fixing the problem areas, then the school division would go back to the Board of Supervisors to ask for more.

Hutcherson made the motion to follow through on Hicks’ recommendation, but the motion failed.

“I don’t want us leaving here not doing something,” James River board member Sherry S. Ragland said.

Heslip encouraged bringing in an architect to offer expert insight on the best way forward with regard to the roofs, including providing a preliminary health update on the old slate roof.

“So clarification: The architect is someone who’d be coming in using their expertise for their design?” Ragland asked. “We don’t necessarily want a contractor to come in and give us (an evaluation) because they’re not going to have that expertise is what you’re saying?”

“That’s right,” Heslip said. “And also just to keep things clean for procurement, we want a third-party vendor to give us an industry standard of what we’d be looking for and help us. And if we get a manufacturer in to walk up and tell us, if you sell polymer and you walk around with me, you may be trying to sell me polymer.

“I really like the idea of having somebody who has no dog in the fight,” he added. “They’re just here to give us advice on how to proceed, and that’s why I would say that seeking an architect would be a wise use of money.”

Francisco board member Pamela P. Morris ultimately made the motion to obtain an architect to provide structural diagnostics and relevant information for the roofs.