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Marquette County Courthouse to receive major roof repair

August 23, 2012
By JOHN PEPIN - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - The Marquette County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to spend $92,708 for roof repairs to the Marquette County Courthouse.

The work is expected to be completed this fall and will include removing a rubber membrane from the roof, adding two layers of rigid insulation board in non-attic decks to increase the insulation efficiency, updating the roof drain system and installing a ballasted rubber membrane roof, which carries a 20-year warranty.

"The board, over the years, has taken a lot of pride in maintaining county property," Commissioner Gerald Corkin said. "I don't think any of us want to walk into the courthouse and see 20 or 30 buckets around to catch water coming through the roof. So, this is something that needs to be done."

Article Photos

The Marquette County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to spend $92,708 for roof repairs to the Marquette County Courthouse, which are scheduled to take place this fall. A leak in the roof was found in late July. County officials want to complete the work before winter. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)

County facilities manager Aaron Karlstrom said construction costs are estimated at $86,000 ($7.90 per square foot) plus $6,708 for engineering. County public improvement and contingency funds will be used to pay for the repairs.

The roof currently in place on the courthouse was installed during renovations in 1982-1984. The roof has aggregate holding rubber down with an original coal tar pitch roof below the rubber membrane.

Karlstrom said in a recent memorandum to county administrator Scott Erbisch there was a roof leak around the skylights of the south wing of the courthouse July 26.

"This leak was repaired with no damage, but triggered an inspection of the roof condition," Karlstrom said. "Water is penetrating the rubber membrane and is saturating the wood fibrous board that the rubber membrane is installed on. The original coal tar pitch roof is stopping the water from entering the building at this time."

The crawlspace attic was inspected for leaks or signs of water penetration, but nothing was detected.

"Based on the deteriorating quality of the existing rubber roof, the concern is in the wintertime, with snow and ice accumulating on the roof deck," Karlstrom said. "Repairing a roof leak in the wintertime could be costly and makes the facility vulnerable to water damage."

Commissioner Michael Quayle said the damage was discovered "accidentally" because of the leak.

"It seems like we always get these things as an emergency-type thing, versus the planning," Quayle said. "I'd certainly encourage that planning process and get it off the ground as quick as we can."

Erbisch conceded the county needs to develop better long-range plans for dealing with maintenance and repairs for county structures, involving larger expenditures, like the courthouse roof.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.



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