When the roof of Barranca Mesa Elementary School’s gym blew off in May, school officials looked at the incident as a wake-up call. A recent investigation has caused the district and the board to ask some hard questions about building codes and climate change.
At a recent meeting District Assets manager Joan Ahlers reminded the board that not only has building code changed since most of the roofs in the district were installed (25 to 30 years ago) but so has the weather.
“With Barranca and Piñon, in light of the most recent wind event we’ve had, the question raised if the roofs were properly installed. The roofs were installed properly, but they were installed over 25 to 30 years ago... However they are no longer up to code so they all probably need to be replaced,” Ahlers said. “...For example, uplift in this part of the country was never really considered very heavily, uplift was only considered in areas of the country that had hurricanes and tornadoes.”
In recent wind incidents involving roof damage, students were not present. At Barranca, that incident happened on a Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday is a half-day at Barranca.
After some discussions with the district building superintendent Jeff Sargent, Ahlers noted that at least seven roofs need to be replaced.