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Polson High School roof continues to leak

POLSON — Buckets and pans are a common sight at Polson High School as water drips from the ceiling all around the perimeter of the library, in the center of the upper story of the building. The roof has been leaking for several years.

At a Polson School Board of Trustees dialogue session at Polson High School on March 26, PHS principal Rob Hankins gave tours of the school so everyone at the meeting could see the holes in the ceiling and the stained and leaking ceiling tiles.

The high school roof was originally a steel pan covered with concrete and then gravel. Then about 15 years ago, a layer of foam was added and covered with a spray-on coating of a tar-like substance, according to Hankins and Gary Greiff, head PHS custodian.

Seagulls and pigeons love the foam layer and constantly peck holes in the coating to get to the foam, causing water to soak into the foam and through the rest of the roof.

“You can’t go up there and patch it in the winter time,” Greiff said.

To maintain the roof, every summer Greiff’s crew mops on $2,000 to $3,000 worth of coating, but it’s like using a squirt gun on a forest fire, Greiff said.

Wet snow, warm temperatures and rainy weather just make the problem worse. A chinook in late January caused a chunk of ceiling in the career center to fall on computers below it.

Greiff routinely empties buckets that collect water in between the roof and the ceiling over the history hallway on the north side of the building.

If nothing is done to stop the leakage, Hankins and Greiff fear more damage to ceiling tiles, carpeting and areas between the roof and the ceiling.

School board trustees John Laimbeer and Bob Ricketts also have been considering the problem.

Laimbeer met with Bill and Charlie Lambert, Progressive Services, Kinyon, Greiff and local contractor Roy Sturm on March 28.

The Lamberts will attend the April 9 board meeting and present information and estimates for repairing the worst two sections of the high school roof and the overall total estimate for a complete, bottom-up fix, Laimbeer said.

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