Multi-Purpose Room’s New Roof Poses Problem

CHESTER – Recreation department officials are concerned about the new roof of the town’s Multipurpose Room (MPR).
Recreation’s Corinna Reishus and Michelle Trask met with the selectmen on Thursday, Oct. 24, in see what could be done. The roof was installed over the summer following authorization from voters at Town Meeting. A new kind of roofing material was used for the project, one that did not require ballast, as the original roof had, and the new material and its installation process left rows upon rows of long screws sticking out, pointing toward the gym floor.

Reishus said the program had already lost a few balls to the screws by the time a sheared screw was found on the floor one morning, prompting a bigger concern. Reishus brought the screw to show the selectmen – it was several inches long, and she noted that with the basketball season quickly approaching, she needed to know that no more such hardware would be raining down.
According to selectman Rich LeBlanc, the extended screws are part of that new roofing system.
While selectmen Steph Landau and Jack Cannon took the situation seriously from the start and began pondering what moves could be made, LeBlanc at first was skeptical and questioned the recreation department about its part in the problem.
“They wouldn’t be falling off if you weren’t hitting them with a basketball or softball or whatever,” said LeBlanc. “How are balls getting that high up?”
Cannon said something would have to be done to the ceiling because it was not feasible to prevent balls from getting away from players. Cannon noted real concern about what might happen if a nail were to fall on someone.
Though eventually it was conceded that the balls hitting the screws may be unrelated to the broken one found on the floor, at first Landau questioned what the town would do, should it find out that something as unsuspecting as a rubber ball was breaking the screws on the new roof.
Landau said the screws are extra long in part because they need to work in and out of the roof as the temperature changes within the building. Otherwise, he said, they might break.
Landau suggested installing insulation tiles under the rafters, a move that would both prevent the screws from causing any damage and potentially save on heating costs.
LeBlanc said he would take the broken screw and get in contact with the company that installed the roof to find out what might be happening. He suggested that some may have been over torqued when being installed.
The board left the matter in LeBlanc’s hands, to be discussed further at a later date.

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