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    Historic Roof Repair and Replacement Project Wrapping Up at West Seattle High School
    Posted on 06/08/2021
    This is the image for the news article titled Historic Roof Repair and Replacement Project Wrapping Up at West Seattle High School

    Historic Roof Repair and Replacement Project Wrapping Up at West Seattle High School

    A two-year project to replace and improve the roof at West Seattle High School wraps up in June. As part of the project, the school is once again crowned by a spire atop the main cupola. The historic spire was installed when the school was constructed in 1918 but disappeared sometime after a roof repair project in the 1980s.

    “Putting the spire back is an exciting chance to return a portion of West Seattle High School back to a more historically accurate state than when we started,” said Marc Tegen, Project Architect at Stemper Architecture Collaborative, the school district’s contracted Architect. “We worked very closely with the Seattle Landmarks Board to get their approval for this new historically accurate spire.”

    These two photos show the black and white historic photo and a photo taken this spring of the restored spire. Both are atop a clay tile cupola roof.

    black and white historic photo of West Seattle High Schoolphoto of 2021 West Seattle High Schoo


    While the spire may be the most immediately visible part of the project, the roofing work is the primary focus. Part of the clay tile roof on the landmarked 1918 wing was replaced in 2017. The district was even able to find a manufacturer who could produce the flat clay tile that matched the existing 100-year-old clay tiles. The 2017 project identified further issues with the landmark clay tile roof and the need to replace the existing thermal polyolefin (TPO) roofing system as it had reached the end of its service life. The 2020-21 project implemented the identified repairs of the 100-year-old clay tile roof as well as the low-slope roofs over the remaining portions of the school which included almost all of the standing seam metal roof.

    This photo shows the clay tile roof restoration in progress.

    photo of a roof repair project with rails to hold clay tiles and some clay tiles installed

    “Roof repair and replacement projects are a major part of our work to preserve and protect the district’s 105 school buildings,” said Richard Best, Seattle Public Schools director of Capital Projects and Planning. “The primary goal of this roof replacement was to provide a roofing systems 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 another 75 years or more. The multiple types of roofing materials and multiple roof areas made this a complex project. Considerable thought was given to the life cycle of each component proposed for each roofing system to confirm the life cycles are aligned.”

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

    photo of multiple levels of roofs; some have clay tiles, some have standing seam metal, and some have a thermal polyolefin system


    “The project team brought in a tower crane to deliver construction materials to the various roof locations,” said Mark Emelko, the district’s project manager. “This meant we didn’t need to take up large amounts of the school campus for staging for different areas of roof work. All materials upon arrival could be lifted from one location and placed where needed.”

    As part of the project, the insulation value of most roof areas has been increased to meet current Seattle Energy Code requirements. Even the clay roof tile system received performance upgrades, which although not at all noticeable on the exterior, will allow for improved operational performance due to better “breathability” of the system underneath the tile. The project also addressed some deficiencies in the school’s design, including leaking concrete masonry walls covered with a new wall panel system, and a leaking seismic expansion joint which was replaced with a waterproof, continuous seismic expansion joint system.

    flat roof with skylights with the historic clay roof on a slope behind it.