Worthington News

Community center's roof needs $1 million replacement

Consultant: 'This is one of the worst designs I have ever seen'

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The cost will be $1 million to fix the moldy, soggy, failing roof at the Worthington Community Center.

"This is one of the worst designs I have ever seen," roofing consultant Gary Mays told Worthington City Council on Nov. 12.

The roof over the 10-year-old addition must be replaced soon, he told council. It is not dangerous to community center users at this time, but it could be if the work is delayed too long.

The project will be done next spring and summer, City Manager Matt Greeson said.

The roof has leaked for years, and even a casual look at the roof reveals nails coming loose and a wavy roof surface.

Mays and his company, Mays Consulting and Evaluation Services, was hired by the city to find out just how bad the situation was.

He said walking on the roof was "mushy" and that it was failing on several different levels, primarily because moisture was getting into the many layers of roofing.

The firm cut into the roof in six locations, finding a lack of ventilation as a result of improper design, along with improper installation of roof materials, thus leading to the complete roof system failure, according to a report to the city.

"The as-built roofing system does not allow the high-humidity air within the roof system to escape the roof assembly," according to the firm's report.

Some sheeting has completely disintegrated; nails have corroded, some completely disappearing.

The report noted more than 20 findings of areas where the roof was not built to standards.

The report includes photographs of the failing roof. Many showed mold and corrosion. One showed water being squeezed out of a handful of what was left of vented nail-base sheeting.

"If they could do it wrong, they did it wrong," Mays said.

Council was cautioned by Greeson to avoid questions of responsibility, saying any possible litigation would be discussed in executive session, essentially barring the public from knowing what goes into the decision of whether the city might sue to recoup to cost of rebuilding the roof.

"We're still evaluating our options," Assistant City Manager Robyn Stewart said Tuesday.

The community center addition, including the indoor pool, fitness center and other rooms and offices, was built in 2002 at a cost of $9.5 million.

Moody-Nolan of Columbus was the architect, and Apex/M&P was the general contractor. Many subcontractors also were involved.

"In a project of this size and complexity, a lot of people were involved," Worthington law director Pam Fox said.

Asked by a council member to clarify how the problems arose, Mays answered: "It is design and installation; we can leave it at that."

The failing roof is not the first problem with the addition.

A leaking window system in the entrance had to be replaced two years ago. The cost of the project was $300,000.

The city did not seek a legal settlement for that work, but it was discussed at the time.