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Committee wants to fix Ag Center roof now

St. Croix County will be taking bids to replace the asphalt shingle roof on the Agricultural Services and Education Center in Baldwin.

Last month Facilities Manager Art Tobin reported on problems with the roof and asked that it be replaced next year. But last week Finance Committee members agreed it would be better to replace the roof now rather than make do with repairs.

The Ag Center was built in 1997 with a three-tab asphalt shingle roof. The roof leaks in the winter after long periods of cold weather.

After an inspection, Kurt Reed of Roof Spec Inc., St. Paul, reported that the shingles were poorly installed from the start, there are gaps in shingles and the plywood decking is soft in places and has buckled between trusses.

Reed said part of the problem is an inadequate attic exhaust and ventilation system that causes frost to build up during long periods of cold weather and melt and drip into the building when the weather warms.

Reed advised last week that replacing the shingles and damaged decking will correct ventilation deficiencies but other repair work should be delayed until after infrared imaging tests, which can only be conducted in cold weather.

Last month a County Board member suggested going with metal roofing rather than asphalt shingles, but Reed estimated that would cost over twice as much and the warrantee would still be 20 to 30 years.

Besides, he said, the condensation problem would damage a metal roof.

A year ago it might have been possible to expect the builder to help pay to repair the damage, but it's too late now, said Corporation Counsel Greg Timmerman.

The county has had problems with other fairly new buildings. Tobin, who has held his job for only two years, said he had taken calls from residents asking, "How did we let this happen again?"

He said his response has been, "We're trying to do the right thing now."