School board puts roofers on notice

HOUSTON – The Houston Board of Trustees has voted to have their board attorney send a letter of notice to all parties responsible for the roof on School of Science and Technology.

Trustees have been meeting in executive session for several months with NewPath Strategy Consulting, to discuss the leaking roof at the building formerly known as the Vo-Tech Center. The roof was replaced in 2010 and has continued to leak.

“Our specialty is not roofing and that is why we have met with NewPath,” said Houston Superintendent Dr. Steve Coker. “The roof leaked and we hired people to repair it and it continues to leak.”

Board attorney James Hood said he would send a letter to the architect, contractor and bonding company explaining the school’s concern and asking them to meet with the district.

“We hope the parties involved can come in, sit down and discuss why the roof continues to leak,” said Hood. “The school district does not want to go to litigation.”

Both Coker and Hood said he were not at liberty to discuss details because of a potential lawsuit. Both said they didn’t understand why the district hired people to fix a leaking roof and the roof continues to leak.

“We would be poor stewards of taxpayer dollars if we did not address this situation,” said Coker. “There is a danger of students slipping on wet floors and teachers have to rearrange their classrooms on days that it rains and put out buckets to catch drips. We just want dry classrooms.”

The district contracted with Copper Top Roofing in 2010 to fix the roof at a cost of $240,000. The school board has met repeatedly with architect Roger Pryor and contractor Copper Top Roofing since the roof was installed saying they are not satisfied with the work.

Pryor and Copper Top say the problem is with condensation pans on old air conditioning units and not the roof that was installed.

At a March 2011 meeting Pryor said the type of roof installed does not have a history of failure and he believes it was installed correctly.

Trustees Bart Munlin and Rayburn Parks climbed on and inspected the vo-tech roof in March 2011 to try and find a solution to chronic leaks that have plagued the building.

Munlin, an engineer, and Parks, a well-services businessman, also reviewed a copy of the actual bid specifications that were used to repair the roof in an attempt to determine the scope of the work and if that work had been done.

Munlin said at that time condensation pan on the bottom of air conditioners on the roof have deteriorated and it appeared the contractor and architect had done what they said they would do.

Parks was a little more hesitant and said those condensation plates should have been replaced and should have been part of the scope of work when the architect drew up specifications.

The district hired NewPath Strategy Consultants this summer to develop a plan to assess and estimate costs for repairing leaks at the Houston Vocational Building and replacing air conditioners.

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