Storms force emergency roof repair at Prospect High School
The strong storms that rolled through the area last weekend exacerbated the already-poor condition of the roof at Prospect High School, and have triggered $130,000 worth of emergency repairs this weekend.
The Northwest Suburban High School District 214 school board approved the expenditure at a special meeting Thursday morning so that repair crews could start their work by the afternoon.
While public agencies are typically required to post meeting agendas at least 48 hours ahead of time, the District 214 session was put out for public notice less than 24 hours in advance due to the emergency nature of the repairs.
"This is all necessitated by the storm that we had, right? This is not just normal wear and tear type of thing?" asked board member Dan Petro.
"It's probably a combination, but that event just pushed us over," responded Chris Uhle, the district's associate superintendent for activities and administrative services.
The storms brought heavy rains and high winds last Friday evening, damaging two sections of roof in the northeast portion of the Mount Prospect school, causing water infiltration into the second floor in more than 10 spots.
Since last July, the district has made multiple repairs to the two sections of roof totaling 8,000 square feet, which is about 10% of the total area.
Then came Friday's storm.
"The Friday events when we had roughly 3 inches of rain in one hour really made the roof look like a lake," Uhle said.
Though it was spring break and the weekend, when school resumed Monday one chemistry lab remained closed.
After school Thursday, workers began pumping water that collected on top of the roof. On Friday, they're scheduled to remove its multiple layers, including gravel, the membrane, and wet insulation.
Installation of a temporary roof, which should last at least a year, is scheduled for Saturday.
Then next week, crews will reduce the indoor humidity using industrial strength dehumidifiers, vacuum and sanitize surfaces, and replace any stained or visibly dirty ceiling tiles. Once dry, air filters will be replaced in all rooftop units, Uhle said.
The problematic roof sections are 20 years old, but should have had a life span of 25 to 30 years, he added. They're due for permanent replacement in the summer of 2024 at an estimated cost of $1.8 million.
The temporary fix comes as the district prepares a full-scale facility assessment that will detail long-term repair needs for not only all district roofs, but other infrastructure, including heating and cooling systems and parking lots.
That plan will be reviewed by the school board in the coming months.