Whenever rain was in the forecast, Karen Fischer has counted on problems at work.
The Blue Ridge Elementary principal said the school’s roof has become more porous over the past year, creating problems for school faculty, maintenance workers and custodians, who have to deal with dripping ceilings and wet floors.
School officials said the roofs had experienced more than 100 leaks this year and more keep emerging.
“The roof is such that whenever they walk on it, it creates more leaks,” said Fischer, who recently learned that Blue Ridge is among three elementary schools set to have new roofs in coming months.
“We’re thrilled,” said Fischer. “It will be nice to walk through the building without seeing spots on the ceiling or water on the floor.”
The Columbia County Board of Education voted earlier this month to go ahead with replacing the roofs at Blue Ridge, Euchee Creek and Greenbrier elementary schools.
Tim Beatty, director of facilities, said the Blue Ridge roof is about 15 years old and in the worst shape. He has crews out there almost every day to patch new and reoccurring leaks.
Fischer said one rainstorm this summer leaked into a book storage closet and destroyed several novels.
“Thankfully, it wasn’t textbooks,” she said. “Those are much more expensive.”
Beatty said because water can run down rafters and beams, it is often tricky locating where the leak originates.
“It would be nice if it leaked straight down, but that is not the case,” he said.
Minor roof repairs typically cost between $700-$800, but major repairs can be considerably more.
The system recently spent $15,000 to repair a large roof leak at Evans Middle School, Beatty said.
Officials don’t have an estimate on the cost of the roof replacements, yet, but schools Superintendent Sandra Carraway said it’s a necessary expense the system will have to find money to fund.
“The goal is to take care of our buildings,” Carraway said. “The longer you wait, the more damage you get.”