New Roof for Historic University Building in Logan, Utah
by Kathy Ziprik, freelance writer for the construction industry
There was no summer break for the team at Kendrick Brothers Roofing, Ogden, Utah, these past three years. As soon as school ended in May for students at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, the team got to work on reroofing the iconic Old Main structure on campus. Originally built in 1889, Old Main has served its community for more than 125 years. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Sites, the imposing structure is home to the president of the university and a multitude of offices and classrooms.
For three summers in a row, Kendrick Brothers Roofing worked on the historic building. “Every summer we tackled a different phase of the reroofing project,” says Brent Wood, project manager at Kendrick Brothers Roofing. The existing roof had old, curling gray shingles that were in disrepair so the roofing team removed them and replaced them with Fancy Shake tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes®.
“We encountered a few challenges along the way,” added Wood. “First, since the structure was built so long ago, many of the walls were not square. Second, due to a fire on the north side in 1984, this section of the roof had to be re-sheeted. Lastly, we had to fabricate four new cupolas.”
Before installation began, representatives of Utah State University and Design West Architects, Logan, Utah, sought permission to use the composite shake tiles on the Old Main project.
“Utah State University has an on-campus architectural review committee that monitors and approves all changes to buildings, signage, and landscaping,” said Quin E. Whitaker, PE MBA, structural engineer/project manager at Utah State University. “Our facilities team was required to meet with the State Historical Department of Utah to gain approval of the Fancy Shake tiles.
“When we met with the state’s representative, he declined all proposed roofing samples, including one from DaVinci,” continued Whitaker. “We asked him to go look at the DaVinci tiles installed on our geology building back in 2012. As soon as we got there, he immediately told us the composite tiles looked great and met his expectations.
Gaining approval on the DaVinci product was particularly important, since Whitaker and his team anticipate that five historic buildings on the campus quad, including Old Main, will all have the same composite roofing tiles installed in the coming years.
With the green light received, Kendrick Brothers started the Old Main roofing project in May of 2015. At the same time, the roof specialists from the university’s carpentry shop created new cupola bases. “Bryan Bingham and Mike McBride at our university were very involved in the project,” said Whitaker. “I’ve never seen the level of craftsmanship that they were able to achieve for the cupola bases. Everyone involved in this project went above and beyond.”
Going the extra mile involved quite a few special considerations for Kendrick Brothers on this project. The team manufactured a 15’ pedestrian bridge to allow access from the roof to one of the towers. Located more than 100’ in the air, the new bridge complements the building’s structure and meets code requirements.
On the north side of the building, Kendrick Brothers crafted new metal sheeting on four finials. At the south tower, the stone finials were in need of renovation. The roofing team contracted with Abstract Masonry, Salt Lake City, Utah, to revitalize the stone, mortar joints, and other surrounding brick features. They also contracted with Rocky Mountain Snow Guards for snow fences and snow guards that were installed around the entire structure. Snow fences were put in place at the eaves over pedestrian and vehicular areas as a barrier to snow movement.
This challenging project paid off, allowing Utah State University’s Old Main building to remain as an icon on the campus. With the help of Kendrick Brothers Roofing and DaVinci Roofscapes, the Old Main building will continue to add historic charm to the university for many years to come.