Mont Vernon school closed until next year

MONT VERNON – The Mont Vernon Village School will be closed until after the New Year because of at least a dozen leaks in the roof that could end up costing the town tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix.

Classes were called off Tuesday when ice dams on the room pushed water from melting snow through the pitched, shingle-covered roof, where the water collapsed some ceiling tiles, and will remain closed until after the holidays.

School is scheduled to start again Jan. 5, according to the district calendar.

As a short-term fix, the Mont Vernon School District is expected to cover 38,000 square feet of the roof with a heavy-duty tarp, at a cost of around $17,000 plus installation, according to Director Of Buildings and Grounds Jim Rines.

On Tuesday, leaks sprung in around a dozen rooms, according to officials. Virtually the entire school was affected except for the gymnasium/cafeteria, called the multipurpose room, and a wing built two years ago that holds the computer classroom and sixth-grade classrooms.

Leaks did occur in the kindergarten, which also was built two years ago.

“That is a surprise – seeing it’s only a couple years old,” said Rimes. An insurance adjustor is scheduled to examine the situation today. The long-term solution for the room is unclear. State regulations for school roofs have been tightened in recent years, requiring them to be strong enough to carry a snow load of about 70 pounds per square foot, instead of the 40 pounds per square foot in effect when the school and its various additions were built.

As a result, it’s possible that major repairs could require internal cross-bracing that would push the cost into six figures.

On the other hand, it’s possible that less expensive changes could work, such as changing from shingles to metal or plastic so that snow will slide off and not form ice dams, says Rines.

“We don’t want to throw money away if we’re going to put a new surface on it. But we can’t have cancellations of school and people going up there on the roof (to shovel) every time there’s a snowflake,” Rines said.