published Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

LaFayette High School’s roof to be laid on like carpet

  • photo
    Lafayette High School building in Lafayette, Ga.
    Staff File Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Workers should roll out a new roof at LaFayette High School this summer — literally.

The school’s shingled roof has had problems, so Chattanooga architect J. Patrick Neuhoff is drawing up plans to build a new, metal roof right on top of the old one.

“It comes in a roll with the enamel already baked on,” Neuhoff said of the heavy-gauge metal roofing material. It would be extruded on site when construction work gets under way, probably in late summer.

Along with a new roof, the high school is slated to get six new classrooms — heated and cooled with an energy-efficient geothermal system — and a 14,000-square-foot athletic facility that will house a wrestling room, two locker rooms, a training room, a laundry and offices.

“We’re doing renovations in all of the schools,” said Walker County school board member Jim Smith. Funding for the capital improvements comes from the state and from the 1 percent education special purpose local option sales tax.

The 130,000-square-foot roof is expected to cost $1 million and should last for 50 years, Neuhoff said.

Smith said, “Economically, it’s the wisest thing over the long run. It may cost you a little more up front.”

The school district is making renovations at the same time it’s laying off employees, but funding for capital improvements can’t be used for operations, Smith said.

“You can’t mix the two,” he said.

The geothermal heating system would be more efficient than the current system, which costs about $1 per square foot each month for heating and cooling. “We hope to get that down to about 30 cents,” Neuhoff said.

The geothermal system would have a heat exchanger that could use well water — though Neuhoff also likes the idea of submerging the heat exchanger in the 237-acre city reservoir near the school. That would be less expensive than drilling new wells for the apparatus, he said.

Regarding the reservoir, City Manager Frank Etheridge hadn’t been informed of the idea of submerging the apparatus in the reservoir.

“We haven’t had that discussion. I’d have to see a lot more information,” Etheridge said last week.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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