A five-week project that will completely replace Silver Lake Elementary School’s 18-year-old roof is slated to begin this week.

Cost: $1.5 million

Completion Targeted: mid-August


A five-week project that will completely replace Silver Lake Elementary School’s 18-year-old roof is slated to begin this week.

“Right now, the roof is worn out and the shingles on top are like potato chips,” Appoquinimink School District Superintendent Matthew Burrows said. “It’s been an issue for a couple of years, but it deteriorated much faster than anyone expected and now it’s at the point where people going up there to do spot repairs are only causing more leaks.”

Burrows said workers with EDiS, the Wilmington-based construction management firm, will gradually remove portions of the existing roof, replace sections beyond repair and re-shingle the exterior, while ensuring the building’s ventilation system remains intact.


Principal Cynthia Clay said the project is desperately needed to stop what she described as “excessive” leaking in the 30-year-old school, which houses about 520 students.

“I’ve been at Silver Lake for 24 years and I’d say we’ve had some leaking for the past 10, but in the last three years it’s steadily gotten worse, to the point that we have new leaks every time it rains,” she said, adding that the custodial staff had developed a system of funnels and hoses that directed water from the ceiling to trash cans placed throughout the school. “You just never knew what you were going to walk into, which created stress for our students and our teachers, and a whole lot of extra work for our custodians.”


Burrows said district administrators asked the Delaware Department of Education to add the roof replacement project to the capital improvement portion of the referendum that first came before voters in February once it became apparent that the problem was quickly deteriorating.

The late addition to the referendum was not approved, so the district turned to state legislators from the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend area for relief.

“We had them tour the building and showed them the problems we were having,” he said. “To their credit, they recognize this was a project that had to get done right away and they really came through for us by getting it added to the state bond bill.”

The $477.8 million bond bill passed the General Assembly on July 1, and the district was able to initiate the project a little more than two weeks later with roughly $900,000 in state funding and about $600,000 in local operating funds.

“We’re very fortunate to be able to move ahead with the project quickly,” Burrows said. “Now we just need the weather to cooperate with us.”


Burrows said the district’s goal is to have the roof replacement project completed before staff returns on Aug. 19 and students begin the 2013-2014 school year on Aug. 26.

However, roof projects are especially dependent on the weather and this summer has been particularly rainy.

“Hopefully, it’s not necessary but we have a plan in place so that the final week or so of work would be conducted outside of school hours so as not to disrupt students and teachers,” he said.

Clay said she believes her staff will be able to accommodate the project, even if it extends into the first week of school.

“Being flexible is what being in education and working with children is all about,” she said. “Everyone knows this is a situation that needs to be taken care of and we’ll work around it accordingly.”