“It’s going to take two weeks,” Portsmouth Mayor Jane Murray said from her office as Stevens Construction workers got the project under way, which also will include repairs of the parapet walls.
At the last Portsmouth City Council meeting, after a brisk discussion that included City Service Director Bill Beaumont, Portsmouth City Council passed an ordinance providing $65,000 to replace the roof on the city building.
Municipal Court Judges Russell Kegley and Steven Mowery recently insisted on the repairs because of water damage caused by heavy rains.
In a letter to Council, Kegley said, “During my tenure, I have experienced solid sheets of water in my chambers doorway to the courtroom/council chamber; plaster falling on courtroom participants, ceiling tiles collapsing onto furnishings and equipment and the destruction of personal and court property.”
“The chamber where the Council meeting is, which is Judge Mowery’s Court, the company that came in and repaired and painted it prior to the judge taking office in January, would not warrant the work they did,” Murray said. “They were paid to do it because it needed to be done, but, at the same time they couldn’t warrant it because they knew at the same time that the underlying problem existed.
Now there will be no leaking at all that can come through the roof.”
Murray said the work should be completed in about two weeks.
“I was on the roof with Stevens and Bill Beaumont last week, and I saw where many of the holes were in the membrane,” Murray said. “There had been patches over the years, and that had been just the wrong thing. It should have been totally replaced.”
Murray said the city will next get pricing to do tuckpointing to the building and repairing and painting the interior that had been damaged by the water.
“I have been shown various places in the building, one being the conference room right next to my office, in which the plaster had been repaired and painted, and within eight months it was all falling apart again, because it has not been tuckpointed as well,” Murray said. “It was a waste of money because the roof hadn’t been replaced.”
Murray said the city will get quotes for cleaning the walls.
She said the stairs in the building have yellowed because wax had been used on the natural stone, and that wax had yellowed.
“So we’re going to get a price to get all of that taken down to the raw material,” Murray said.
Murray said she believes in the historic aspect of the city building, and would like to see it repaired and restored.
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232 or email@example.com