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Inspector finds courthouse, jail need repairs

Roof repairs are necessary at the Sequoyah County Detention Center to prevent

further water damage from leaks such as the one pictured above.

Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 - The Board of Sequoyah County Commissioners learned Monday that the courthouse and detention center are in need of some costly repairs.

Josh Rhodes of The Garland Company recently inspected the county facilities and he presented his findings Monday at the commissioners' regular weekly meeting. Rhodes also inspected a building at Sequoyah County's Rural Fire Protection District No. 1.

In a PowerPoint presentation, Rhodes detailed the conditions he encountered during his inspection of the courthouse. The roof, he said, is in “pretty good shape,” though there are a few concerns, including “flashing lapses,” ponding water and what Rhodes called the “worst enemy” for a roof, an incorrect slope that is causing leaks.

Flashing height is also a problem on the courthouse roof, Rhodes noted. At a minimum, he said, the flashing height should be about 8 inches, but most of the courthouse flashing height is about 3-5 inches, which allows water to flow over it and enter the building. “It's a pretty easy fix” to a problem Rhodes said had been installed wrong from the start.

Rhodes provided multiple images of repairs needed

on both the detention center and courthouse.

Another problem on the courthouse roof, Rhodes pointed out, is a condensate line, which he said is the most caustic material that can eat away at the top of a roof. He said that could also be easy to solve with some PVC. Rhodes said the roof is blistered in some places from being installed when there was moisture present, there is evidence of granular loss from the cap sheet and there is severe mineral loss on the roof's surface.

Rhodes did more than point out problems, however. As part of his presentation, he also included solutions.

He said repairing the roof wouldn't be that difficult. Running the condensate lines to the drains and fixing the flashing lapses on the perimeter to stop the leaks would be the first order of business, Rhodes said. Garland Co.'s initial repair estimates were $350,000 on the courthouse project.

The roof at the jail, he said, is covered with a single-ply layer of wood-core board, which is about as effective as an asphalt shingle. “Those do not belong on a jail facility,” Rhodes said. He said that type of roof covering is more suited for a convenience store or other similar structure.

Once he cut into that layer, Rhodes said, the board was wet, but once he got past that, there was very little moisture underneath. Rhodes recommended the county bring in a scanner that can detect how much moisture is actually in a building's framework before removing everything and starting all over.

Another problem at the jail is the curb height on the roof, which Rhodes found to be 2-3 inches high. The correct height is about 8 inches, he said. A skylight at the jail has a failed repair that is leaking as well.

“That's why the jail leaks so bad.”

To fix all the problems at the jail, Rhodes said, would cost an estimated $180,000 to last 20 years, $200,000 to last 30 years, or $220,000 to last 40 years.

As for the courthouse building itself, Rhodes said the brick facade and the windows have lost nearly all of their sealant and the brick is missing a lot of grout.

At Sequoyah County RFPD No. 1, Rhodes found leaks around the ridge gable trims on the 50-foot by 50-foot building, though most of the building was in good shape. There was a problem with the roof's ridge cap, which was about 18 inches short, leading to leaks. There were also horizontal laps on both sides of that ridge, which are active leaks that will need to be sealed with a seam sealer. Several failed ridge cap repairs were noted. Rhodes' cost estimate to repair that building was $9,765 and he vowed, “This will stop your leaks.”

The Garland Company works with county governments on providing inspections, estimates and, if necessary, will contract out for repairs on facilities in need of upgrades using federal American Relief Plan funding. Pittsburg County recently completed a renovations of its Sheriff's Office and detention center using inmate labor, saving that county hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Rhodes said Sequoyah County doesn't have to follow his company's plan. He said Garland simply sells the products, such as paint and other construction materials, and once a county purchases that, they are free to do as much of the work as they want themselves, or they can rely on Garland to bring in work teams on contract.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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