Schools getting roof relief | Sampson Independent

Relief is finally arriving for Clinton City Schools in the form of much needed roofing repairs as part of another of their planned construction projects for this summer.

For the past few year CCS have been in dire need of these repairs, which totaled in the millions for full completion. According to school officials, this was a monumental task as the system is allotted no more than roughly $400,000 yearly for infrastructure repair to use on the schools. That changed this year due to needs-based capital funding becoming available for CCS to access.

John Lowe, CCS executive director of technology and auxiliary services, detailed how this funding came to be that helped jump-start their roof repair project.

“There are multiple avenues for school capital needs, predominantly funded in the state of North Carolina through the education lottery proceeds,” he said. “One of them is the Needs Based Public Schools Capital Fund. Up until this year, that particular fund was only for new school construction.”

“The General Assembly, however, voted and agreed in the current biennium budget to allow applications for repairs in that.” Lowe added.

Lowe went on to describe the rough shape their roofs are in.

“For Clinton City Schools, in our long range capital plan, we had a roof audit completed in 2019 and it illuminated $4.7 million in roofing needs,” Lowe said. “Most of it, almost $3 million, needed to be accomplished in the first two years. As good as the county commissioners have been to us, they don’t have the means to fund that. We receive approximately $350,000 to $400,000 a year from the county commissioners for capital.”

In that 2019 roofing audit, done by WolfTrail Engineering, it was revealed that 40% of their roofs were deemed Grade F for their condition. The audit divided the CCS roofs into 107 different locations/areas and gave grades based on the roofs’ remaining service life.

The grading system was between A to F with years left before needed repair determining the grade. Places with an estimated 10-plus years left on the roof received A, seven to 10 years is a B, grade C service years are four to six, up to three years grants a D and no more than two years left is an F. In total, 52.34% of CCS buildings — 56 of 107 — fell in the C, D and F category.

Of those 107 locations, two were graded A, which included areas at L.C. Kerr. Those given a B included 29 of 107, or 27.1%, that encompassed most of Butler Avenue and Clinton High, also one building at Sunset Avenue. The majority of Sunset was given a C, which were 31 of 107 areas. Most of Sampson Middle — 26 of 107 areas — were given grade of D and 19 of 107 places were marked with an F. This included Butler’s Gym, one of the main buildings of Sunset and the Skylight at CHS. Also included was maintenance needed at the Clinton City Office totaling 17.8%.

“I had no idea how I was gonna handle $3 million in roofing needs and we have tackled it as as best we can each year,” Lowe said. “When the applications from the General Assembly came about, I immediately thought, I was going to apply for approximately $3.4 million, because, we had done some of the projects already. We received $900,000 through the funding.”

Where is funding going

Lowe went into further detail of the funding they received and how and where it will be used throughout the school system.

“We got some funding for Butler Avenue that’s going to be used on their worst roof, which is one of their extension buildings and the end of 500 Hall,” he said. “We got quite a bit of funding at L.C. Kerr Elementary. Almost all of the rest of their flat roofs will get redone with this funding, and one portion of a shingle roof that had some problems.”

“At Sunset, predominantly, it’s going to cover some through wall flashing where the water is running down the upper story and coming in that flashing and getting in our main hall areas,” Lowe said. “Then at Sunset, if you think about the front where their sign is, there’s some awnings and coverings that are really decaying and deteriorating so it’ll replace those. Plus their breezeway on the front street side by the auditorium and then just some general repair work on the auditorium and Fence Street building.”

Having these extra funds is something Lowe says has be a major help to both him and the school system as a whole as they now have money freed up for other projects.

“This has been a bonus for us because the energy savings project has helped us take $1.5 million out of our capital,” he said. “Plus this funding through the lottery proceeds, then the special change in the needs based is taking almost another million. That’s going to help free us up to tackle some other projects. Projects like our much desired paving that needs to be done and our child nutrition storage warehouse that we desperately need, now I have the funds for that.”

“There’s some other things we could do at some other schools now that have to happen over time,” Lowe said. “Such as equipment aging and needing to be replaced and without these funding streams we would just be in a world of hurt, so we’re excited for Clinton City Schools. We are upset that we’re not gonna be able to do Sampson Middle School, but, it helps us move along and we’ll definitely apply again when the next window opens.”

Reach Michael B. Hardison at 910-249-4231. Follow us on Twitter at @SamsponInd, like us on Facebook, and check out our Instagram at @thesampsonindependent.

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