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Sutton Middle and High School Building Concerns

Don’t forget to thank the custodians for what they do.
Sutton Middle and High School Building Concerns
Flatsburgh Architects

Sutton Middle and High School was completed in 2015, a brand new building that would last for decades.

Yet, now in 2023, the school system has decided it is time for updates and improvements throughout the building, inside and out. 

As many staff and students of Sutton Schools know, the beautiful building has its flaws. Often, rooms are taking on rainwater from the roof and countless ceiling tiles are stained with water damage. This should not be mentioned without saying that the maintenance department has worked hard to mitigate these issues. 

While entering the 2023-2024 school year, those involved with the school, students, parents, staff, etc., received an email concerning the middle school (MS) and high school (HS) music room. 

Sadly, this is a common sight as water has found its way into the building in several locations.

This email, sent out by Anne Corron (MS principal), Ted McCarthy (HS principal), and Kimberly Roberts-Morandi (superintendent), addressed the possible presence of mold in the MS/HS music room. 

A four step plan lays out the intended course to properly take care of the room. To know exactly what lies in the room “We are working with professional experts in mold remediation to assess the extent of the situation and determine the appropriate course of action” says the email. To properly fix the issue, they must know exactly what the issue is. 

Otherwise, the school district intends to get rid of any water damage that could be there, and also take precautions to prevent further water damage in the future. As stated in the email, “This may include improvements in ventilation, moisture control, and continuing to work to mitigate the roofing issues.”

Seeing the proper steps being taken to address the water damage puts many of our minds’ at ease, but other questions must also be raised. 

The root of this water damage problem is almost entirely the result of a leaking roof. As many know, Sutton Schools has a very large, flat roof. This design is pretty much inevitable when building such a large school. The roof often allows large amounts of water into the building. Multiple teachers have buckets, plastic sheets, and towels soaking up rainwater coming into the building. 

Buckets are needed in some middle school rooms to catch the water coming in.

The MS/HS art teacher, Danielle Vanderkeyl, says, “My room has been leaking since I moved into the room about eight years ago.” This only goes to show that the building was not properly built, and this is not a maintenance issue or something due to negligence. 

As seen in the photo of the art room, Ms. Vanderkeyl has multiple towels, buckets, and bins trying to catch the water that consistently drips during rainfall or snowmelt. This is not something staff should be dealing with inside an eight year old building. 

After speaking with Dave Richards, Sutton School’s Day Custodian, I learned more about the type of roof the school has, and what they are doing to stop leaks effectively. The roof consists of five main components. I will list them in order from bottom to top. The structure is made of a steel I-beam, a layer of sheet metal, a layer of insulation/foam about four inches thick, another layer of sheet metal, and a thin layer of a rubber like material. This last layer is what protects everything from water intrusion. 

This drain frequently clogs, and the water backs up and black mold grows.

Mr. Richards also mentioned, “We have been working on the roof, going around caulking any problem areas. This seems to stop leaks from what we’ve found.” Seeing success in repairing leaks is great news for all. 

Another issue that the roof seems to have is drainage. From multiple classrooms large pools of standing water are visible. This is not overly concerning, but standing water makes any small holes leak more than they should. If the water was quickly rolling off the roof, the leaks would not be as serious.

In the end, it is pleasing to see that the issue is being addressed. The custodial team has been working very hard on this issue, for without them the water damage would be more than the school can keep up with. The problem lies with the construction company that built this school, and thanks to our hard working maintenance and custodial staff, the damage is being dealt with. 

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About the Contributor
William Sawicki
William Sawicki, Staff Reporter
My name is William, but I most often go by Will. I attend Sutton High School. I have lived in Sutton my whole life. I enjoy being outdoors and doing outdoor activities. I like to hike, fish, snowboard, water ski, and many other outdoor oriented things.

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