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Out of Many, One

Roofing Retrofit 1

Cushing High School comprised five buildings, all of which needed a new roof

A recent economic expansion in Cushing, Okla., allowed the public schools to address some pressing needs at the high school. The campus is comprised of a group of buildings serving different needs, such as an auditorium, fieldhouse and main classroom building. They were all built in the 1960s and 70s, and the time had come for them to be updated for modern educational needs.


A Cohesive Vision

Led by the architecture firm of BWA Architects, Norman, Okla., the expansion and renovations were extensive across all the buildings, and all the buildings required a new roof. At that point, A-Lert Roof Systems, New Braunfels, Texas, stepped in. The company consistently rates as one of the largest roofing contractors in the United States, and at Cushing High School it installed its proprietary standing seam roof system.

The MCN Building and Roofing Award judges noted how the new roof, laid over a flat roof revised the profile of the campus and tied together everything into a much more cohesive whole. For that reason, they selected the Cushing High School Expansion and Renovation project as the metal roof-retrofit project of the year.


Getting the Job Done

Michael Wright was the project manager for A-Lert and spent nearly a year in Cushing with his crew getting the job done. "We started with the auditorium," he says. "It was coming toward the end of summer, the first part of fall. The eave height was 40 feet, so we had to get the roof former machine up there to run panels on the upper sections. The lower sections, we framed a radius roof and also had a 4-foot overhang that we used 4-by-4 tubular framing to support."

The roofing material was a 22-gauge steel in Dorado Brown with a Kynar finish. In total, the crew installed more than 98,000 square feet of roofing as well as installing wall panels. "The number of guys on the crew varied," says Wright. "We had up to 12 guys but usually we had a crew of five. We tried to stick with one building at a time."

The crew worked section by section since the school was in operation the for most of the time it was on the job. "Once you put down the clip," Wright says, "we wanted to finish that section in case of rain or bad weather." The existing roof also was in poor condition. "With the foot traffic and drilling holes in the roof, we were increasing the chance of leaks."


A Few Challenges

Every roof is different, and when you have five different roofs in the scope of one project, that provides a lot of variety. The gym and fieldhouse building project included the addition of locker rooms and coaches' offices. "We had to tie in the retrofit to the new framing," Wright says. "Our slopes needed to match the framing for the new addition. Working with the contractor who did the framing was kind of tricky. If they were off just a little bit, we'd be in trouble. They got their eaves set and we pretty much went ahead of that. We worked off the drawings and everything worked perfect."

The main high school building provided the most difficult test because part of the roof was in a radius form and the rest ran perpendicular to that. "We had to frame a radius valley," Wright says. "Tying the radius to the straight panel roof created a half-moon valley, which was pretty tricky."

In addition, every roof had a hip and, of course, working on an old structure means that plumb and level is relative to the structure. "You kind of have to match to the existing," Wright says, "or it just won't look right." Those constant adjustments can mean cutting an inch short on one end so the reveal stays the same across the roof, but always maintaining the critical functionality of the roof. If it doesn't shed water, it doesn't matter how good it looks.

"The radius roofs made the project so unique," Wright says. "it turned out really neat in the end."

The judges concurred with Wright's assessment. Building up the roof and giving the buildings a new, integral profile, created a more contemporary edifice. Moving all the air handlers off the top of the buildings offered up a streamlined look that matches the modern look of the standing seam metal roof.

Photo Credits: Michael Wright


Cushing High School Expansion and Renovations, Cushing, Okla.
Completed: October 2015
Total square footage: 98,369 square feet
General contractor: Lambert Construction Co., Stillwater, Okla.,
Architect: BWA Architects, Norman, Okla.,
Metal roofing contractor: A-Lert Roof Systems, New Braunfels, Texas,
Metal roofing: A-Lert Roof Systems,