Deerfield Elementary School roof comes to half expected cost

  • The roof of the Deerfield Elementary School was completed way under budget, saving taxpayers over one million dollars. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • The roof of the Deerfield Elementary School was completed way under budget, saving taxpayers over $1 million. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

For the Bulletin
Friday, December 23, 2016

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Final tallies are in, and the town saved more than $1 million on Deerfield Elementary School’s new 71,000-square-foot asphalt roof.

Original estimates for the project’s final cost, dating back to 2014, ranged from $2.34 million to nearly $3 million. Selectman Henry “Kip” Komosa said, in the end, the project cost $1,569,806.45.

Of that, about half is funded through a state School Building Authority grant, leaving a balance of roughly $800,000 for the town to pay.

“It was a really painful process, but we saved the town about half of what it was estimated to cost,” Select Board Chairwoman Carolyn Shores Ness said Friday. “It worked out beautifully. It’s a safer roof, and it’s good for another 20 years.”

Shores Ness also noted the project was finished slightly ahead of schedule.

The school roof project involved stripping shingles and re-covering the roof sheathing with 2 inches of foam insulation, and another layer of plywood, before re-shingling it. The original roof, built in the early 1990s, had a 25-year life.

Shores Ness said the project’s initial budget, approved on Town Meeting floor, included a new drainage system, which wasn’t needed in the end. Komosa discovered the drainage system was clogged, and “was more of a maintenance issue.”

The board also found cheaper, efficient shingles, and reused materials that were still in good condition — including copper-coated lead under the eaves.

Komosa noted that all the materials have warranties.

“What it really boiled down to,” Shores Ness said, “is that the Select Board had a presence at every weekly meeting. We kept the architect focused, and refused to allow architectural errors in the design be charged to us.”

Shores Ness noted that at least two board members attended every meeting, allowing the board to immediately vote and make decisions.

“It was a team effort by (Building Commissioner) Dick Calisewski, Kip Komosa — and I basically showed up so we could vote. We didn’t let anything slide, and were able to vote right on the spot,” Shores Ness added.

‘Blackmail’ allegations

In 2015, the town awarded the design bid to Raymond Design Associates.

Earlier this year, a Recorder article reported controversy that arose when the firm “amended its original contract with the town, requiring payment for an extra potential 10 meetings to the original 15,” costing the town more than $10,000.

In that article, Komosa said, “If we didn’t sign the amendment, they would have basically stop working. If they stopped working, no paperwork would transpire.”

If the paperwork wasn’t created, Komosa said the town wouldn’t have been reimbursed by the state.

Raymond Design Associates’ owner Gene Raymond, wrote a letter to the newspaper addressing the Select Board’s concerns, published Aug. 21. The article noted that Raymond said the town micro-managed the project, forcing his firm to charge extra for consulting services.

During a recent Selectboard meeting, Komosa again brought up the design firm and the project’s logistics, relating that roughly $200,000 of the project’s $1.5 million price tag was spent on paperwork.