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Archive for Saturday, February 10, 2007

Repairs to rare roof may top $1M

February 10, 2007

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Atop a crane, Adrian Gray, left, an insurance restoration contractor, and Matthew Sitzmann, an engineer with Haag Engineering Co. from Dallas, inspect the red slate roof of the Watkins Community Museum of History at 1047 Mass. The roof, made of a rare red slate, was damaged by hailstorm 10 months ago.

Atop a crane, Adrian Gray, left, an insurance restoration contractor, and Matthew Sitzmann, an engineer with Haag Engineering Co. from Dallas, inspect the red slate roof of the Watkins Community Museum of History at 1047 Mass. The roof, made of a rare red slate, was damaged by hailstorm 10 months ago.

The roof on Watkins Community Museum of History is as unique as the many artifacts it shelters.

That means the cost to fix it won't be cheap.

The roof, which was seriously damaged during a hailstorm 10 months ago, is made of red slate tiles and dates back to the building's construction in 1888.

Repairs could cost more than $1 million with construction lasting into the summer, said John Coffman, an engineer with the Kansas City, Kan., office of CMR Construction.

He was among a group of engineers and an insurance adjuster who was assessing the roof's damage Thursday.

The Douglas County Historical Society, which operates the museum and owns the building, hired CMR to oversee the restoration efforts.

"There are only a handful of buildings in the United States that have a 100 percent red slate roof," Coffman said.

Red slate tile is so rare that only one quarry in the world produces it, he said, and it is the same one that produced the original tiles that went on the roof in 1888.

Red slate tiles are expected to last 150 years, he said.

Broken pieces of red slate are trapped by the gutter on top of the museum.

Broken pieces of red slate are trapped by the gutter on top of the museum.

Once engineers determine how much of the roof needs to be repaired and insurance adjusters agree on a price, it could take up to five weeks for the slate to be produced from the quarry in Granville, N.Y. Coffman said it could take two months for workers to install the roof.

Rebecca Phipps, director of the museum, said she expected the insurance carrier, Allied Insurance, to cover all the costs.

Phipps said there was no major danger to the building, 1047 Mass, pending repair of the roof.

"We're fairly structurally sound," she said. "What we're most concerned about is a piece of slate breaking loose and falling on someone walking along the sidewalk."

The building, a former bank, has been owned by the Douglas County Historical Society since 1972 and has been home to the museum since 1975.

Comments

dizzy_from_your_spin 7 years, 2 months ago

1) Insurance company pays big bucks for hail damage to exotic roof. 2) WCMH puts exotic roof back on building. 3) Insurance company no longer wants to insure building with exotic roof, does not renew policy. 4) WCMH has difficulty finding new insurance company, pays exotic premiums because of exotic roof. 5) Exotic premiums cause higher operating expense, higher taxes.

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geekin_topekan 7 years, 2 months ago

Is this not where the Rottwieler dog name is from?Red Tiled roofs? I read that during the time of Ceasar and Christ that vicious army dogs were bred and trained in a town that was most notable by it's red roofed biulings."Rottwiels" or "red tiles".

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budwhysir 7 years, 2 months ago

Did we do a feasability study on this one?? Seems like the price is a little low to me. We should put together a group to research this subject for a year or two. Dont want to jump to conclusions on this one

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hawkperchedatriverfront 7 years, 2 months ago

Move the documents from the trinket museum and place them in the Carnegie Building. Get smart Lawrence! Fix the roof and let Elvira Angeletti come decorate the place and charge admission. That building is not viable for place of holding important records. It is just a looksee around place. Phipps needs to move on and the museum needs to have the city and county offcials removed from it's operation. It needs a real leader and an endowment. Better start one fast before Tensie Oldfather kicks off. Oh, maybe Mr. Mullaly who the J/W is courting will donate some millions from his FORD CEO job to start the fund raising. Is there no one around like Frances Constant who funded the purchase of Constant Park. She put her husband's wealth(made in construction in Lawrence)back into the community.

Who is next to follow?

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gccs14r 7 years, 2 months ago

The roof lasted for 118 years before it was damaged. Ordinary roofing doesn't last nearly that long and tends to leak more often, causing structural damage. We can either suck up the million and revisit the roof in 2125, or we can have $200,000 repair/replacement jobs (plus inflation) every 20 years, with interior flooding and damage to artifacts in the meantime. Besides, a million dollars spread out over 300 million people is a third of a cent apiece--hardly an extravagant amount.

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Scott Kaiser 7 years, 2 months ago

If the building is on the national historic register, perhaps the fed. government could help pay the cost.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 2 months ago

"I'm not ashamed to admit that bilking the insurance carrier for a cool million..."

When have you ever heard of an insurance company not turning a profit?

You've "bilked" everyone paying an insurance premium, including yourself. The insurance company is quite brilliant at estimating the odds and costs and then adding their profit on top.

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Eric Neuteboom 7 years, 2 months ago

The sentiment of history is not cheap. Pay for the red slate tiles and be done with it. Besides, I'm not ashamed to admit that bilking the insurance carrier for a cool million is a nice bit of schadenfreude this morning...

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Marion Lynn 7 years, 2 months ago

There are modern building materials which look exactly like the tiles and do not cost the Earth.

These should be used instead.

Thanks.

Marion.

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Kookamooka 7 years, 2 months ago

Dude! The roof has lasted 150 years. I'm betting that is longer than the building materials on the market today. Correct me if I'm wrong. The building is a treasure and should be preserved as an artifact!

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plumberscrack 7 years, 2 months ago

"We're fairly structurally sound," she said. "What we're most concerned about is a piece of slate breaking loose and falling on someone walking along the sidewalk."

THEN DON'T GO BACK WITH THIS TYPE OF ROOFING! Put in something less expensive and not as dangerous to the public.

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