FARMINGTON — Selectmen Tuesday, July 13, approved appropriating funds to explore roof repairs at the Community Center after being updated on return of grant funds due to the roof situation.

Farmington received a $155,000 Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) grant for upgrades to the Community Center related to elections — making it easier for people to vote — Town Manager Richard Davis said. Grant funds were used to upgrade the downstairs ventilation and circulation, install an electronic sign similar to the one at the municipal building and purchase laptops and other election supplies, he noted.

“We weren’t able to do everything we wanted to do,” Davis said. “An HVAC system to heat, cool and ventilate the entire Community Center was looked into, but the roof won’t support that. It’s not structurally able to do that. We just did the downstairs where voting takes place.”

The deadline to use CTCL grant funds was June 30. The town has to return $79,530.51 that wasn’t spent.

In March the board authorized contracting with Mechanical Services Inc. to install seven five-ton units on the roof.

They came to look at the installation of the HVAC, Parks and Recreation Director Matthew Foster said. The gentleman had enough knowledge, said the community center structurally is in great shape but was concerned with the roof and wanted a structural engineer to sign off on it before installing the units, Foster added.

After a structural analysis years ago, the upgrades weren’t done, he noted. When the man from Mechanical Services came up he expected the upgrades to have been done, Foster continued. We could have had the HVAC units installed if it had been; we lost money, he added.

The roof issue was raised in order to consider repairing the roof to install HVAC units to handle the whole building, Davis said.

“In 1998 or 1989 there was a structural analysis done on the roof,” he said. “At that time it didn’t meet the modern snow load requirements. The roof must have been leaking at that time. Rather than put in the amount of money we were looking at at the time, in order to stop the leaks we put a rubber membrane on it.

“Just for safety sake it makes sense for us to address these roof conditions,” Davis noted. He thought the repairs could be done using the crawl spaces.

“The best way might be to take the entire roof off and redo it because of the access of getting things up there,” Foster said.

Preferred Construction Management of Portland, Maine, will provide a detailed project estimate for $1,920. It will charge $120 per hour to develop a contractor’s request for proposal. The money will be taken from the Community Center Building Reserve Account.

“It’s one of those things that you kind of wished you had done it when you should have done it,” Foster said.

Funds for the roof repair could be appropriated from the undesignated fund balance with voter approval at a town meeting, Davis said. He suggested waiting until the March meeting when turn out is typically greater.

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