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Tires hold down the roof Friday at the Mitchell Middle School. The roof was damaged by strong winds Jan. 15. (Sean Ryan/Republic)

Mitchell school board OKs repairs to roof damaged by wind

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In a special meeting Friday, the Mitchell Board of Education approved an emergency request to fix a roof at the Mitchell Middle School damaged by strong winds Jan. 15.

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The high wind gust recorded that day in Mitchell was 41 mph. Winds were even stronger the next day, when tires were placed on the roof to hold down its membrane.

Superintendent Joe Graves asked the board to approve $169,627.47 for repairs to the roof and $579.83 for repairs to the buildings’ roof vents and ventilation systems. The board approved those requests by a 4-0 vote. The roof damage was limited to the membrane that covers the roof and did not include structural damage, Graves said.

Most of the total cost will be covered by insurance, including the roof repairs and fixes to the ventilation systems.

The school will have to pay $3,816 to get a new warranty on the roof, covering the school for the next 15 years.

The roof was damaged on the northwest corner of the middle school building and over the main part of the gym floor, said John Sieverding, district director of buildings and grounds.

Graves said there was not much leaking as a result of the torn membrane, which was swinging as high as 6 feet in the air before school maintenance employees provided a temporary fix using hundreds of tires.

“The maintenance guys did a great job and we’re fortunate that it wasn’t worse,” Graves said. “[The tires] hold it down and we’re not getting any leaks, so they’re doing what we need them to do.”

The four present board members all voted to approve the emergency request, with Dana Price and Neil Putnam joining the meeting by phone, and Theresa Kriese and Deb Olson in attendance at the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy. Rick Johnson was absent.

The work on the roof repairs will be done by J&P Roofing, of Dell Rapids, which had done some initial work already to secure the roof. Krohmer Plumbing, of Mitchell, will provide the repairs to the roof vents and ventilation systems.

Needing an immediate fix when the winds damaged the roof, Sieverding asked Cenex Mr. Tire and later Graham Tire for used tires, and each delivered a free semi-truck load. “They both said ‘you bet’ and were very helpful,” Sieverding said. Sieverding said the goal is to start permanent repairs on the roof in the next few weeks.

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