The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Township roof repair underway


September 4, 2019

Tom LaVenture/Daily Globe

Terry Hannu, the contractor with Ruotsala Concrete Construction LLC, looks at the exposed gymnasium roof at the Ironwood Township Office on Tuesday. He said work to replace the roof and support trusses that cracked from heavy March snow should be completed in approximately six weeks.


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Ironwood Township - Nearly six months after sustaining damage due to a heavy snow load, work to replace Ironwood Township's gymnasium roof is underway.

The roof has withstood Upper Peninsula winters for decades, said Terry Hannu, the contractor with Ruotsala Concrete Construction LLC. It was still doing the job until March 11, when two of the supporting trusses cracked under the weight of 5 feet of drifting snow, he said.

"It overloaded the roof," Hannu said. "We've got to replace all the trusses and the roofing."

The Ironwood fire department had to come in with a ladder truck and blow the snow off the roof using a fire hose, he said. The damaged trusses were braced from both inside and out, but the building's gymnasium has not been used for the duration.

After six months, the insurance company has approved the funds to replace the roof, said township supervisor Jim Simmons. Other than a $500 deductible, the $235,000 cost to replace the roof was covered by the insurance, he said.

"There is a lot of history with this building in the township and we were just fortunate that the insurance was able to cover it," Simmons said.

The work to remove the ceiling and insulation from the inside to expose the angled wood and shingled roof is complete, Hannu said. The floors were covered and work to remove the roof in sections is expected to start today, he said.

It will take about 50,000 square-feet of roofing and ceiling materials to replace the old roof that was built in 1937, he said. The new roof and ceiling will look identical to the original but will have improved insulation and ventilation, he said.

Cranes and lifts will be used inside and out, he said. Weather permitting the job should last from six to eight weeks, he said.

"We're going to be here a while," Hannu said.

The multi-used building is used primarily as a gymnasium, Simmons said. The township offices are in an adjoining building with a separate roof, but some meetings and other functions were held in the gym.

"It's going to keep the same aesthetics and have the same old feel to it," he said. "We're just fortunate that we have a good local contractor who will put everything back together the way it should be."

The township offices did shut off the heat and air conditioning Tuesday for work on the ventilation, Simmons said. For the most part there is no inconvenience, he said.


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