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Library Odor Gone, Roof Has To Wait At Shelton's Sunnyside School

Workers are putting the finishing touches on the roof above the library and media center at Sunnyside School in Shelton.
Workers are putting the finishing touches on the roof above the library and media center at Sunnyside School in Shelton. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

SHELTON, Conn. — While a much-debated roof project won’t be completed for the opening of classes this September, Sunnyside School students will be greeted with one positive note — an end to the leaks and pungent odor in the library.

Workers are putting the finishing touches on the roof over the library and media center today, leaving it covered in a protective coating that should squelch persistent leaks in that area of the 65-year-old building, Schools Superintendent Christopher Clouet said Thursday.

“We tested and there was no evidence of mold, but there was clearly evidence of a smell,” Clouet said.

Workers gutted the library and new furniture and other supplies will be coming in September. The space should be open for business within a month.

However, due to testing that found asbestos contained in the existing roofing material, work on the rest of the building was delayed and will have to wait until summer 2017, he said.

“We decided to break it into two parts,” said Clouet, who became superintendent in January.

Built in 1951, Sunnyside School initially was a school, then it was “mothballed” for a time before serving as a senior center and then returning to the school system. The building has been renovated several times and has seven roofs.

“That’s not uncommon,” Clouet said.

City officials thought any asbestos may have been abated in previous renovations, but testing this summer showed its presence in the slurry gypsum mixture used to create a protective layer over the roof deck, Clouet said.

The city has decided to encapsulate the asbestos, rather than remove it, which is an acceptable solution, Clouet said.

Phase I should cost about $270,000, Clouet said.

The delays have caused concern among parents at the school, which is home to 250 children in grades K-4. Clouet has met with parents during the summer and plans another meeting with the Parent Teacher Organization Sept. 1.

He said he, too, is disappointed the roof work is not completed, but he believes the end result will be worth the delay.

“Everyone anticipated it would be done this summer,” he said. “I assumed it as well.”

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