Delaware News

Steel or copper?

Sunbury faces decision on leaky Town Hall roof

Report: Roof must be replaced


Sunbury could pay an estimated $155,000 for a copper standing seam roof, gutters, soffits and related repairs to its historic Town Hall -- or opt for a less-expensive coated galvanized steel roof at an estimated $115,000.

At its Feb. 6 meeting, Village Council authorized Village Engineer Wes Hall to prepare a bid package for contractors interested in repairing the brick, three-story, century-old building on the Town Square. Hall said after the meeting it will take about two months to prepare the bid package.

There is no debate over whether the building's leaky metal roof needs to be replaced. In a roof evaluation report prepared by Daniel Bonham of CT Consultants and presented to council during a committee meeting prior to the regular meeting Feb. 6, Bonham pointed out an array of problems.

"The roof is in need of a complete removal and replacement," the report said. "The metal roof is corroded and breaking apart around the perimeter. The painted coating (on the metal roof) is failing, numerous repairs are evident, and nails are pulling out. The integrity of of the current roof has been compromised."

In cost estimates presented to council, a copper roof would run $75,000, while a coated or painted galvanized roof would be $51,000. All the related repairs, including gutters and soffits, would add to the total costs. Demolition costs for the existing roof are estimated at $6,000.

A copper roof is estimated to have a life expectancy of at least 75 years. A coated galvanized steel roof could last about 50 years.

Mayor Tommy Hatfield, who, along with council members, considers the project to be a top priority this year, said the longer life expectancy of the copper roof could make the cost difference almost a wash.

However, he said he is not leaning one way or the other on what type of roof to put on Town Hall.

"I don't want to gloss over the $40,000 difference (in the two estimates)," Hatfield said. "I just want to get the facts out on the table the best I can."

Hall agreed that while there is a significant difference in price, the copper roof has some appeal.

"(Town Hall) is the crown jewel of the village and an historic building," he said.

"No matter which way you go, "Bonham said, "you are going to get a long-term solution for your roof ... A metal roof is essentially maintenance-free."

Hatfield and council members have said money to pay for the new roof and other repairs should come from the village lottery fund. That fund has more than $700,000 in it from income taxes collected several years ago from an anonymous resident who won a large lottery prize.

Also at last week's meeting, Cindy Erndt told council about the newly created Big Walnut Civic Association. That nonprofit group will help with village and other community activities, including the annual Sunbury Sizzle and Sounds food and music festival.

This year's event, perhaps the village's biggest festival, will be held from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 24 on the square. Council approved a resolution in support of the festival and civic association during the Feb. 6 meeting.

"Historically, civic activities have been done by the village and the chamber of commerce," village solicitor David Brehm said. "This is a big step forward for Sunbury to have a civic association (to) raise money and do events for the betterment of the community."