Farmington board approves funds for Community Center roof

FARMINGTON — Selectmen approved the granting of funds on Tuesday, July 13 to investigate roof repairs at the community center after being informed of grant refunds due to the roof situation.

Farmington received a $155,000 Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) grant for election-related upgrades to the Community Center — making it easier for people to vote — said city manager Richard Davis. Grant funds were used to improve ventilation and circulation on the ground floor, install an electronic board similar to the one in town hall, and buy laptops and other election supplies, he noted.

“We weren’t able to do everything we wanted to do,” Davis said. “We looked at an HVAC system to heat, cool and ventilate the entire Community Center, but the roof can’t handle that. He cannot structurally do that. We just did the lower floor where the voting takes place.”

The deadline to use CTCL grants was June 30. The city must repay $79,530.51 that has not been spent.

In March, the board authorized a contract with Mechanical Services Inc. to install seven five-ton units on the roof.

They came to see the installation of the HVAC, said Parks and Recreation director Matthew Foster. Knowledgeable enough, the gentleman said the community center is in great shape structurally, but was concerned about the roof and wanted a structural engineer to sign it before installing the units, Foster added.

After a structural analysis years ago, the upgrades weren’t done, he noted. When the Mechanical Services guy came forward, he expected the upgrades to be done, Foster continued. We could have had the HVAC units installed if that was the case; we lost money, he added.

The roof issue was raised to consider repairing the roof to install HVAC units to handle the entire building, Davis said.

“In 1998 or 1989 there was a structural analysis on the roof,” he said. “At the time, it did not meet modern snow load requirements. The roof must have been leaking then. Instead of putting in the amount we were looking at at the time, we put a rubber membrane on it to stop the leaks.

“Only for safety’s sake it makes sense that we address these roof conditions,” Davis noted. He thought the repairs could be done using the crawl spaces.

“The best way might be to take the whole roof off and redo it because of the access to get things there,” Foster said.

Preferred Construction Management of Portland, Maine, will provide a detailed project estimate for $1,920. It will charge $120 per hour to develop a contractor proposal request. The money will be debited from the reserve account of the community center building.

“It’s one of those things that you wish you had done when you should have,” Foster said.

Funds for the roof repair could be appropriated from the undesignated fund balance with voter approval at a city meeting, Davis said. He suggested waiting until the March meeting, when the turnout is usually higher.

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