Old library roof may need replacing

The old library needs a new roof. That’s the opinion of Charles Curran, president of Paul E. Dutelle Co. Inc., the roofing contractor that has maintained the old library’s slate roof for years. Curran said in an email to Assistant Town Administrator Marie Sobalvarro that continuing to make repairs to the slate roof to address leaks would be a waste of money for the town. The company’s estimate for a new roof plus the required staging is about $336,000.

The old library’s tenant, the Harvard Cultural Collaborative, met with Sobalvarro, Town Administrator Tim Bragan, and members of the Board of Selectmen in January to discuss water leaks on the interior walls of the old library. Collaborative members said they believed the leaks were being caused by ice dams as well as snow on the roof, and they asked the town to fix the leaks. Sobalvarro contacted Dutelle for insight into the cause of the leaks as well as its recommendations to fix them. The company did $14,000 of repairs to the roof last summer before the collaborative moved into the building, according to Bragan.

Curran said that his reason for suggesting a new roof is that the waterproofing under the slate is “no longer viable.” He said the roofing felt has turned to dust and the flashings around the roof joints, such as at the chimneys, have deteriorated. Curran added that if the town continues to just make repairs to the leaky roof, leaks will only come back in other areas.

The contractor said that some money could be saved if the town reused the slates that are still in good condition. When Sobalvarro asked if the roof could be repaired in stages, Curran said it could be, but it would end up costing more in the long run because of the staging needed.

At the May 15 Select Board meeting, Chairwoman Lucy Wallace said the roof will have to be figured into next fiscal year’s capital plan, and the board will discuss it further at its strategic planning meeting June 4.

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