Hail damage claim to get new roof put on at HNHS, school board hears

Although it won’t last as long as the Huntington County Community School Corporation and its Board of School Trustees would like, Huntington North High School will still get a new roof, thanks to a claim from previous hail damage.

During their regular meeting Monday, June 8, board members heard that an insurance claim of hail damage found on the roof from a storm last year will pay for a new rubberized roof for HNHS.

HCCSC Superintendent Chad Daugherty reminded the board that the referendum, which was voted down in November 2019, had asked for $68 million to fix major issues on the high school’s 50-year-old building as well as build a new section – deemed less expensive than fixing the existing structure’s issues.

“Our community has spoken there,” he said. “We were able to have a community work session in January, to listen to our community members after the fallout of the referendum. And the one thing that came clear was, our people believe that we need to try to deal with the high school project with our existing monies.”

Daugherty presented a list of five “critical needs” to the board he said require immediate attention. In addition to the $1.2 to $1.4 million insurance settlement, a portion of the $20 million the corporation has set aside for repairs and renovations will be used for the first two items on the list, that of the roof and replacing the failing HVAC system. The other three critical needs are plumbing, Kriegbaum Field and the Learning Center.

Other needs on the HNHS campus include electrical, fire protection, classroom walls, entrance and tennis courts.

At the top of the list, Huntington North’s second, overbuilt roof, installed in 1983, has at least 23 unseen leaks across the building and other drainage problems, Daugherty said, presenting a huge health and safety issue.

Assistant Superintendent for Business and Classified Staff Scott Bumgardner addressed a solution the administration is recommending which consists of a “TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) retrofit” option using a rubber membrane made by Firestone. Bumgardner said Stellar Restoration Services, based in Houston, TX, and engineering firm EFI Global, of Indianapolis, provided insight into the best options for the roof. He added that although the high school qualified for a metal roof, he believed it was not the best solution to stop the leaks.

Bumgardner said the new roof would have a 10-year life span. He added the state Department of Local Government Finance has given the go-ahead because HCCSC will get the insurance claim money for the project and the need is deemed an emergency, allowing the corporation to hire a company to do the work without going through a bid process.

Stellar Restoration was recommended to do the work, Bumgardner said.

“The bottom line is, we do not have to touch or disturb the current roof, or what’s underneath,” he added. “Is it a 100 percent best option? Absolutely not. But that failed in November.”

Stellar Restoration Vice President of Operations Chris Cook told the board that the hail damage that occurred to the high school turned out to be a blessing in disguise in providing funds to fix the roof.

“When I first got on the roof, I saw why we are here; you’ve got a problem,” Cook said. “It was attempted to be solved in 1982 with what I would call a roof ‘hugger’ system. … Our goal in this process was to get the budget for like kind and quality to make sure that we could fix your roof the way it actually needed to be fixed, and we had the correct budget to do it. Fortunately, we’re there. A TPO retrofit system is the right fit here because I can encapsulate all these problems.”

The high school’s heating and air conditioning system will also be replaced, drawing from the $20 million the corporation has set aside for repairs and renovations.

Daugherty said the boilers and chillers as well as controls will be replaced in the academic areas and four air handlers in North Arena.

By bidding out the equipment, Daugherty estimated the chillers and boilers would cost around $4.7 million, the air handlers in North Arena would cost $2 million and new digital controls would run about $1 million. RES Construction, which has already been approved by the state, has provided a price guaranteed not to exceed the $7.7 million estimate, Daugherty added.

The boilers could be replaced in the fall, and the chillers installed in the winter. The air handlers would be done in the spring, Daugherty said.

Both roof and HVAC recommendations were approved by the board unanimously.