Petersburg High School was covered in feet of snow and ice in early January. (Photo by Angela Denning/KFSK)

Leaks are still occurring at the Petersburg School District buildings from damages sustained from snow and ice earlier this winter. The major repair work will likely have to wait until the summer but school officials say the buildings are safe for students now. KFSK’s As Angela Denning reports:

The school board at their last regular meeting, heard the details of the damages that happened in December and January.

Aaron Buller is the district’s maintenance director. He says there is a long list of damaged areas and some are still experiencing problems.

“There is still leaking in areas,” Buller said. “I’ve been up in all the crawl spaces. There are temporary fixes, gutter systems, trying to catch water leaking from those pitched roofs and diverting them out over the edge of it.”

The district’s insurance company assessed damages on January 18 and the total repairs will cost $245,000. Insurance will pay most of it except for a $10,000 deductible.  

The district’s maintenance department has repaired the band room ceiling so it’s safe for students. Buller says that included working on an area where there was a major leak—removing some of the sheetrock and insulation.

“We found where the leak was coming from was caused by a chunk of ice falling off from the metal pitched roof and puncturing the rubber membrane,” Buller said.

Band classes moved to the auditorium temporarily but they are back in the band room now.

Buller says one of the high school classrooms–Jim Engell’s room–sustained damage to several ceiling tiles.

“That roof had a lot of punctures in it from ice damage,” he said.

“The large icicles and all that, when they fell, I mean they literally did puncture through,” said Superintendent Erica Kludt-Painter.

That’s Superintendent Erica Kludt-Painter. She says huge ice chunks fell down and broke through the different roofs in several places. Those icy areas were hard to reach. And when the chunks broke off, it was loud. 

“Sounding like a truck hitting the building, they just puncture right through,” Kludt-Painter said. “When they’re that large, I mean, they’re like cars, when they fall.”

A volunteer shovels snow off the top of Petersburg High School, Jan. 7. (Photo by Angela Denning/KFSK)

The damage was from a combination of having flat roofs, which caused snow and ice to build up and a weak membrane material in the roofing. Kludt-Painter says they’re hoping to make some improvements to the membrane when repair work is done so they don’t have the same problem in the future.

“What can we do to shore it up a little bit because we clearly aren’t . . .I mean, we’re not going to be able to build peaked roofs at this point on here so how do we shore this up a little better,” she said.

Most of the roof repair work will likely be done early this summer by a contractor. Then the local maintenance department can work on interior fixes after that. Kludt-Painter says they are hoping the planning process will go quickly so materials can be ordered and shipped sooner than later.

The school district is also preparing for the possibility of another weather event by getting a new Bobcat. The school board approved the purchase for $78,000. The machine is on a track rather than wheels. Maintenance Director Buller, says it will be much more useful than the district’s old bobcat from 2011, which is smaller and has lost its suspension.

“With the new Bobcat, it has 2,400 pounds lifting capacity, our old bobcat has only 900,” he said. “When we get heavy loads in from AML we have to restock them on pallets to be able to offload them.”

The new Bobcat has many attachments that can be used year round for varies things.

The money for the Bobcat comes from the district’s vehicle replacement budget.