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Work on leaky library roof ongoing

Posted on Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 1:54 pm


Elena Cawley


Repair work on the leaky roof at Coffee County Lannom Memorial Library on North Collins Street is ongoing, according to Andy Farrar, purchasing agent for Coffee County, with some improvements already completed.

Construction work began in October and was initially expected to be completed in about 90 days. However, work has been delayed by inclement weather.

Lannom Memorial Library Director Susan Stovall arranges a bookshelf last Wednesday. The plastic shroud protects books from water that leaks through the ceiling.
–Staff Photo by Cameron Adams

“Work is being delayed due to the temperature and weather-related issues,” Farrar said. “Weather permitting, (the project will be finalized) late spring to early summer.”

The company tasked with the project is Tri-County Roofing in Manchester. Total cost is expected to be about $100,000.

After completion of the project, Tri-County Roofing and the manufacturer of the roof, AquaSeal, will be responsible for maintaining it for 20 years. Also, Tri-County Roofing will be responsible for repairing the roof and will cover labor for the first two years after installation.

“AquaSeal (is) a fabric-reinforced fluid-applied roof, applied over the existing metal roof with some modifications for drainage,” Farrar said.

The AquaSeal system is described as a highly durable, strong, fluid-applied, cementitious compound, reinforced with non-woven polyester fabric that is suitable for use over every roof surface, either new or old and worn out.


Improvements made

 “People working on the project have made some progress, and we are very pleased about that,” said Susan Stovall, director of the library. “It will be great if we have some warm, dry weather to get this done soon.”

Though completion of the roof installation is still a few months away, the leaks have significantly decreased, according Stovall.

“We are down to two active leaks, and we were in the double digits before,” she said.

However, during the early construction stages, the library had to endure heavier leakages for a short period of time, said Stovall.

“There was a timeframe when they were working on the roof and were in the process of taking out nails and stuff like that, when (the situation) was worse,” Stovall said. “But it has definitely gotten better, and we’re down to two leaks.”

Though it has become tougher for rain water to find its way through the roof and into the building, library employees are still prepared to deal with the leaks.

“We are still keeping the pans, the plastic and the buckets up because if it rains, especially if it rains for several days, it will take a little while for the roof leak to get bad enough to come down into the building,” Stovall said. “We are trying to be proactive because we don’t want to lose any material.”

Stovall said last year about 50 books were completely lost due to the leaking roof, and that number could have been even higher.

“We could salvage some books because they weren’t so wet, so they were still usable,” Stovall said.


Other improvements needed

“We are very concerned about the carpet because mold can be developed if the carpet gets wet consistently,” Stovall said. “When the roof is finished, we will look at replacing sections of the carpet because there is probably some permanent damage there. Libraries have to be really careful about mold.”

All library employees are looking forward to working in a dry building that won’t get wet inside every time it rains, according to Stovall.

They hope emptying buckets will no longer be part of their duties.

“Before, we would come in the morning, and the buckets would be full,” Stovall said. “I have stayed late to empty buckets some nights because I knew they would get full (and overflow).”

Not only is emptying buckets not pleasant but it is a distraction for the staff from other duties, according to Stovall.

“And you can’t empty the buckets on the roof by yourself because you have to have a ladder and somebody to hand the bucket down to,” she said. “It can be dangerous. We always try to be very careful and have another person to help.”



Damage from the leaking roof has caused problems for several years, but last year, library losses reached $1,000, according to Stovall.

To deal with the ongoing problem, employees made holes in the ceiling tiles to install plastic pans and funnel the water, which would then be collected in large buckets on the floor.

Many of the ceiling tiles and insulation have become saturated with water and had to be replaced through the years.

The first section of the library was built in the 1960s, and the roof has only been patched since then.

The library operation and repairs are funded by Coffee County taxpayers.

Elena Cawley may be reached by email at tngenrep@lcs.net.