Roof Replacement Remedies Water Leak


For MacLean Hall, summer brought a serious roof repair project, costing one million dollars.

The project included replacing the roof above the bookstore and re-tuck pointing the masonry above the roof, according to Brenda Norris, executive director of facilities at MSUM. The four-month project will finish in mid-September.

“The masonry work—the re-tuck pointing—involves grinding out the mortar between each and every individual brick, and so they did that, and they had to replace that mortar,” Norris said.

On Sept. 4, the project was 80 to 90% complete. The remaining steps include washing down the brick and covering the stones on the top of the hall with sheet metal flashing to protect them. Norris explained that the washing is necessary because of dust from the ground-up mortar and splatters from the wet mortar.

Water from the Ceiling

Before the project began, small trees had been growing on the roof of MacLean. Photo by Katie Betz

The roof of MacLean was badly in need of repair.

“We had several leaks, and people have probably noticed even in the link, where that dining area is outside of Dragon Café, there were some damaged ceiling tiles—ceiling tiles with stains on them—and when it got really bad, I think there were some garbage cans standing there collecting water,” Norris said.

On top of the roof itself, small trees were growing.

The new roof is designed to last 40 years, Norris explained.

“The roofs that Minnesota State requires us to have now are very built up (with) many layers,” she said.

After starting in May 2019, the repairs are expected to finish in mid-September. Photo by Katie Betz

The money for the project came from the state of Minnesota’s Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) fund, Norris said. The money was received in July of 2018 and construction began in May 2019.

Gast Construction of Fargo was contracted for this project with two sub-contractors, Granite City Roofing and AJ Spanjers.

One of the challenges facing the contractors was the fact that that part of campus is very “congested,” as Norris said. This was especially true of one of the more noticeable changes made during this year’s construction, moving the MacLean roof access. There used to be a stair to the roof on the outside of MacLean along a wall. With this summer’s renovations, that staircase has been relocated to a more secure location inside the loading dock for the bookstore. Norris explained that putting in this new roof access was a challenge because they needed to coordinate with the mail and delivery trucks using the loading dock to deliver to the post office and bookstore.

Shawn Bellendorf of INSPEC oversaw the designing of the project and some of the inspections. He is part of the full-time observation and inspection of the roof work required by Minnesota State.

“We create all the construction documents. That’s what their contractors are bidding off of is our documentation, both blueprints and specifications,” Bellendorf said.

He explained that the work that had been done included removing wet insulation from within the roof system and obsolete penetrations, such as unused air vents.

Norris said that there is not much damage inside the building except for some finish damage, such as water stains.

The Capital Investment Committee, from the Minnesota House of Representatives, visited campus on Sept. 5 to hear some HEAPR requests from MSUM, as well as from the county and city. There are three projects MSUM is asking for funds for: updating HVAC air moving equipment in Bridges and Owens halls, updating the chilled water system in the Center for the Arts, and replacing windows, doors and repair ramps in Murray Hall.

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