Longsjo Middle School Roof Work Near Completion After Delays

March 29, 2019 GMT

FITCHBURG -- After weather delays and unforeseen issues in replacing the Longsjo Middle School’s roof, the project is on track to be complete by the early summer.

“It’s definitely nice to see the project coming to an end,” Tom Peterson, the district’s director of building maintenance, said Thursday.

To date, about 80 percent of the roof has been replaced with new shingles, Peterson said.

Longsjo’s roof was about eight decades old and was known to leak.

The school was built in 1937 and hasn’t been renovated since 1995, according to the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

The city began the process to replace the roof last year with a $2 million loan.

Reconstruction began in June and was expected to be done in October, but the completion was delayed until the spring.

Roofers lost up to two months of work days because of extreme heat, snow or frost, Mayor Stephen DiNatale said in November.

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In the fall, the city contributed an additional $367,000 to repair the roof’s gutter system, upgrade its fire suppressing sprinklers, and remove asbestos.

No additional funding has been added to the roof replacement since the fall, said City Auditor Calvin Brooks.

“We have the funding in place we need for that project,” he said Wednesday.

Peterson said crews found asbestos sealing when they removed the old slate shingles. No new asbestos has been found since the fall, he added.

The updated gutters are being fabricated and there have been no issues with the sprinklers, Peterson said.

Better weather conditions allowed the crew to return to work about three weeks ago, he said.

“They’ve been up there almost every day,” Peterson said. “They’re moving along.”

As part of the roof project, the school’s cupola will be repainted, he said.

DiNatale said in his February State of the City address that restoring the old Fitchburg High School cupola would allow “all residents and visitors can once again see the beacon of light on top of Academy Street Hill.”

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