Ongoing leaks in the Greencastle Community School Corporation's newest school building may be a sign of much bigger problems.
A leaky roof at Deer Meadow Primary School could cost the corporation anywhere from $75,000 to more than a quarter million dollars to fix, the school board learned Wednesday.
"Deer Meadow is our newest building, and since we've been in there, we've had leaks," Superintendent Bob Green said.
While the problem has existed since the building's completion in 2001, it became even worse following February's ice storm.
As the ice melted, not only did the leaks return, but mold was also discovered in Room 111, a first grade classroom. As a health precaution, the class was moved to another room, and Moisture Management LLC was called in to investigate the issue.
Brennan Baker of Moisture Management told the board his company tested the air and found it to be at safe levels. They then cleaned the mold.
Repairs have since been made, and the class has returned to its room.
In investigating the root cause of the leak, a major split in both the shingles and the roof underlayment was found in a roof valley above the classroom. Further investigation revealed widespread splitting and buckling of shingles on the building's roof.
An infrared scan revealed 52 distinct leaks in Deer Meadow's roof, most of them around various roof valleys.
Rather than a simple roof problem, the issue seems to be with the building's expansion joints, which are designed to protect a structure as its construction materials expand or contract.
"There's an unusual amount of stress to this structure," Baker said.
He recommended bringing in an independent structural engineer to advise GCSC on a course of action and the extent of the problem.
There was also further talk of fixing the affected areas, as Baker said the entire roof likely does not need to be replaced.
"The roof is in pretty good shape," Baker said. "The problem is everywhere you have an expansion joint and everywhere there's a valley."
Baker told the board the leaks around the valleys could be fixed, with the direct area re-shingled, for approximately $75,000. He also advised that while he does not believe it necessary, replacing the entire roof could cost $250,000 to $350,000.
"If we fix the deficiencies, it should be watertight again," Baker said.
Before investing this kind of money, the board would like to learn more about the problem.
"I would rather see some harder numbers because this could blossom into something much bigger," board member Todd Sutherlin said.
"Let's see what the fix is and then do it," Kelly Lewis added.
The board approved a measure to spend up to $8,000 to hire a structural engineer to look into the problem further.
Maintenance Director Dan Green advised that Fanning Howey, the building's design firm, has been in contact and will be bringing its own engineer to review the problem.
The board will review all the findings and make a decision on further action at the June 8 meeting.