Washougal OKs school roof replacement

$1.5M slated for work on Canyon Creek, Cape Horn-Skye building

Washougal School District leaders had the right idea when they started saving money to replace the roof at Washougal High School four years ago. They just had the wrong school.

At its Feb. 22 meeting, the Washougal School Board approved the district’s request to contract with a Portland-based roofing company to restore and replace the roof of the building that houses Washougal’s Canyon Creek Middle School and Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School.

West Coast Roofing and Building crew members will start work on June 22, and hope to finish by Aug. 26, in time for the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, Washougal School District finance director Kris Grindy said.

“Back before my time, (district leaders) were asking, ‘Should we be putting money aside (for the high school roof)?’ And they did that — they set aside a fair amount of money to be ready to re-roof the high school if need be,” Superintendent Mary Templeton said during the Feb. 22 meeting. “We had the high school evaluated and (we learned that its roof) has several years left, so we will be able to do that project down the road and we’ll start planning and saving for that. But in the meantime, Canyon Creek became the next item that needs to be addressed, and thanks to (the board’s) stewardship of financial resources, we have the money put aside four years ago, so we’re able to do the roof this summer.”

The district estimates the project will cost $1.53 million.

“We asked a lot of Kris and (facilities supervisor) Jessica (Beehner) in having this work looked at and reviewed and presented to the board in a work session so we could have a ‘Q and A’ and ask some of those really important questions and see way down in the weeds to make sure we are doing what’s best for the community with this money, because it is a significant amount of money,” Washougal School Board President Cory Chase said on Feb. 22. “I feel like, as a board member, I do have all of the information, and that it’s been a very transparent process.”

The district hired Garland Industries, a Cleveland, Ohio-based manufacturing company, to analyze the roof at Canyon Creek/Cape Horn-Skye and Washougal High in 2021. Garland territory managers Brendan Hargrave and Travis Cox delivered a summary of their company’s findings to district leaders during a work session on Jan. 11.

“Everything points to (the fact that) there needs to be action taken on this, based on every factor that could be evaluated,” Cox said about the Canyon Creek/Cape Horn-Skye roof.

Hargrave told district leaders that the roof is suffering from a variety of systemic failures caused by age and inefficient design.

“You’ve got different materials butting up against each other,” he said. “You’ve got shingles that are running into the TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin), and they just don’t play nice together. Imagine a piece of sandpaper rubbing up against a piece of garbage bag — (the bag is) going to wear out over time, and that’s probably what’s happened here.

“The splits, tears and punctures in the TPO membrane are compounded throughout all of it, and the shingles are much further along in their failure than the high school,” Hargrave continued. “It’s starting to become more and more compound as the granules come off the shingle and fill up the gutters in the TPO section. That’s going to create more (failures) because it’s a flat roof, and as that happens, the failure of the TPO will increase. The failure is going to keep compounding.”

Hargrave said that the roof is surrendering a “significant amount of leaks.”

“On one of the walls, the membrane is not actually attached, which is an issue,” he said. “If you get condensation and water behind there, you’ve got a real issue because that’s your last line of defense. You’ve got splits in the membrane, and that’s where you’re letting a lot of water in. It’s not easy to find (the source of a leak) unless you tear off a section. This roof is a headache for (district maintenance employee) Al (Seaman) just because the failure is so compound out there.”

Hargrave and Cox told district leaders that the Washougal High roof is in better shape than the Canyon Creek/Cape Horn-Skye roof, but will need to be replaced in the next three to five years.

“We think that, as of right now, the high school roof is in pretty darn good shape for (being) 20 years old, and a lot of that has to do with the (steeper) slope,” Hargrave said. “The biggest thing we can say about the high school (roof) is that water runs off it, which is great. Obviously, there are areas of concern, but Al’s done a great job of upkeeping.”

The district will consider investing in some short-term repairs that will not impede its ability to commit to an eventual replacement project, according to Templeton.

“Part of what we were interested in learning as we take a really comprehensive look was, ‘Where are we? What is the next step?'” Templeton said during the Jan. 11 meeting. “Now that we know what (the analysis is) presenting, it makes it much easier for us to manage a six-month or yearly look-see as it relates to a longer-term plan for doing these repairs. … We do have capacity for the repairs that are being recommended, the scope and sequence of this work.”