The record rainfall in Sauk County and neighboring communities over the summer has exposed a roof leak at the Sauk Prairie School District administration building and high humidity levels at Tower Rock Elementary School. The district office opened just over three years ago, as did Tower Rock.
“The great test of weather events this summer allowed us to assess how are buildings handle weather-related events,” said Sauk Prairie School District Superintendent Cliff Thompson.
A small roof leak in the administration building caused minor damage to a conference room and hallway inside. Thompson said none of the building’s staff had to be relocated while the problem was fixed.
Thompson said he immediately contacted the district’s buildings and grounds supervisor Len Burzynski asking him to create an evaluation system to evaluate the roof and the source of the leak.
The administrative offices are adjacent to Bridges Elementary and are connected through a series of conference and meeting rooms. However the roof of the administration building is flat, while the school’s roof is pitched.
According to the district’s executive director of business services Luke Francois, the administration office roof has a drain to let water recess off. It was determined through the evaluation the drain had connections that were never fully tightened.
Thompson said the district worked with the construction firm to troubleshoot and remedy the problem. The roof was still under warranty so costs to the district were minimal, Francois said.
“We needed … our partners in the project to take responsibility for the part they should own,” Thompson said. “We also know as the building ages, it will become ours to care for.”
A sensor inside Tower Rock alerted staff to the high humidity levels over the summer.
Francois said the primary reasons for the humidity levels is due in part to items the district couldn’t do at the time of the referendum.
“We had a dehumidification system running in the gym, but cold water was never run to it,” Francois said. “It was a function of budget costs at the time. We were not able to do everything, but the work was set in place for future enhancements.”
Also, an air handling unit in the school had the ability to chill air but not heat it, leading to a burnoff, Francois said. “We needed a heat exchange to pull humidity out of the rest of the building,” Francois said. “In the summer months we were saving by turning that off in the evenings. But when you have significant rainfall, it caused the humidity to rise to unacceptable levels.”
Mold remediation efforts such as disinfecting, cleaning and removal was conducted after the school’s mechanics were fixed and the air quality was tested prior to school opening in September to ensure acceptable air quality, Francois said.
At the Nov. 26 school board meeting, the school board approved maintenance projects at Tower Rock totaling $27,180 toward lowering the humidity levels at the school.