McLennan County commissioners on Tuesday learned needed repairs to the roofs of county-owned buildings will total $8.41 million.

County leaders must identify a way to fund the countywide deferred maintenance that ranges from urgently needed total replacement at the Archive Building to simpler coating required at other buildings in the next six years.

The project list provides a starting point for discussion about how county commissioners want to address the roof problems in coming years, Wallace Group project manager Bruce Thacker said. Commissioners paid The Wallace Group $26,350 to survey all roofs of county-owned buildings.

Almost $1.3 million in projects across 14 buildings were identified as locations with the most imminent loss of property due to damage. The largest project, identified as a “priority 1,” includes the total roof replacement of the Archives Building on Washington Avenue at $458,174.

Another building — the mostly empty, three-story former Grand Karem Shrine building — is losing value as water continues to leak through the roof into the ballroom, Thacker said. Repairs to that building are estimated to cost $119,000. The building now houses the county’s Health Services Department and the Child Support Court.

“We’re damaging property because of the leaks that are there,” he said.

However, some of the more expensive projects aren’t in need of immediate repair and could be put off for a year or two, including re-roofing all of the Juvenile Detention Center at more than $1.5 million. All the flat roof areas of the State Highway 6 jail need to be replaced at almost $2.6 million, but that project could be put off for about another six years, according to the report.

Some of the other buildings in need of roof repair include the sheriff’s office, precinct road and bridge buildings, the IT building, and the MHMR Center for Development Services.

“There are some large-dollar values, mainly because the roof areas are so large that we’re dealing with, and then there are some small ones,” Thacker said.

Thacker said he can’t guarantee the presented list identified the only roofing issues throughout the county, as additional problems could arise in coming years.

“I know roofing is not your favorite subject, but when the roof leaks, a lot of people complain and I get to hear about it,” Thacker said.

County Judge Scott Felton said it is possible some of the work could be funded from one of the county’s bonds, but the court will first have to review the project list.

Cassie L. Smith has covered county government for the Tribune-Herald since June 2014. She previously worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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