Commissioners Approve Funds To Replace Middle School Roof

SNOW HILL – County officials agreed to fund the replacement of the roof at Stephen Decatur Middle School.

On Jan. 5, the Worcester County Commissioners voted unanimously to provide the funding needed to install new shingles on the roof at the middle school. The project is expected to cost $240,000.

“Stephen Decatur Middle School is in dire need because of several storms that have torn that roof off,” Superintendent Lou Taylor said.

On Aug. 4, the roof at Stephen Decatur Middle was damaged in Hurricane Isaias. The loss of shingles then led to an increase in the leaks inside the school. School officials said that each time shingles have been lost, the school system’s insurance carrier has covered the cost of replacing lost shingles. This time, however, officials were advised that the school’s shingles had reached the end of their useful life.

While insurance is providing $48,000 toward the shingles, school system officials proposed using funding set aside for a new HVAC system to cover the rest of the estimated $240,000 cost. Though the school is set to undergo a substantial $12.6 million renovation in the near future, Taylor said the roof had to be a separate project.

“You have asked me off to the side why we couldn’t tie that into the renovation that we’re about to do but the state formula does not allow for us to do that,” Taylor said.

Commissioner Chip Bertino made a motion to approve the roof expense but to use fund balance to cover the cost rather than the money set aside for the HVAC. He said the HVAC replacement should go forward as planned.

“We’re going to end up paying for it anyway so why not just take care of it now,” Bertino said.

The commissioners approved the motion unanimously.

Taylor thanked officials and also took the opportunity to introduce Sam Slacum, the school system’s maintenance and operations manager.

“He has a wealth of knowledge and I can tell you that he is already through his leadership saving us money on some of the energy costs that we incur each and every year,” Taylor said. “So I think you’ll hear some good results from us moving forward.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.