Seattle Public Schools: Historic Roof Repair And Replacement Project Wrapping Up At West Seattle High School


Historic Roof Repair and Replacement Project Completes at West Seattle High School

A two-year project to replace and improve the roof of West Seattle High School is set to finish in June. As part of the project, the school will once again be topped by a spire on top of the main dome. The historic spire was installed when the school was built in 1918, but disappeared sometime after a roof repair project in the 1980s.

“Replacing the spire is a great opportunity to return part of West Seattle High School to a more historically accurate state than when we started,” said Marc Tegen, project architect at Stemper Architecture Collaborative, the contracted architect for the project. school district. “We have been working very closely with the Seattle Landmarks Board to get their approval for this new historically accurate spire.”

While the spire is perhaps the most directly visible part of the project, the roofing takes center stage. Part of the clay tile roof on the monumental wing from 1918 was replaced in 2017. The district was even able to find a manufacturer who could produce the flat clay tile to match the existing 100-year-old clay tiles. The 2017 project revealed further issues with the characteristic clay tile roof and the need to replace the existing thermal polyolefin (TPO) roof system as it had reached the end of its life. The 2020-21 project implemented the identified repairs of the 100-year-old clay tile roof and low-slope roofs over the remaining parts of the school, including nearly the entire standing seam metal roof.

This photo shows the restoration of the clay tile roof in progress.

“Roof repair and replacement projects are an important part of our work to preserve and protect the district’s 105 school buildings,” said Richard Best, director of Capital Projects and Planning at Seattle Public Schools. “The primary goal of this roof replacement was to provide a roofing system that, with proper maintenance, can exceed the standard 20-30 year life cycle of most typical roofing projects, as the clay tile roof system is expected to last for another 75 years or more. The multiple types of roofing materials and multiple roof surfaces made this a complex project. Careful thought has been given to the life cycle of each component proposed for each roof system to confirm that the life cycles are aligned.”

You can see the multiple levels and multiple types of roofing materials in this photo.

“The project team called in a tower crane to bring building materials to the various rooftop locations,” said Mark Emelko, project manager for the district. “This meant we didn’t have to occupy large areas of the school campus to set up different roofing jobs. All materials could be lifted from one location on arrival and placed where needed.”

As part of the project, the insulation value of most roofs has been increased to meet current Seattle Energy Code requirements. Even the clay tile system received performance upgrades, which, while not noticeable at all from the outside, will allow for improved operational performance thanks to better “breathability” of the system under the tile. The project also resolved some design flaws in the school, including leaking concrete masonry walls covered with a new wall panel system, and a leaking seismic expansion joint that was replaced with a watertight continuous seismic expansion joint system.

This press release was produced by Public Schools in Seattle. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

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