Irvington Roofs Struggle to Withstand Rain


Sumukh Murthy

The roof of the hallway near Room 203 leaked as a result of the rain on Oct. 25, 2021.

Water seeped its way through Irvington hallway roofs following a recent period of heavy rain, creating puddles in the packed corridors. The most noticeable leak occurred near Room 203 on Oct. 25, though there were multiple instances elsewhere. Administration at Irvington has requested specialized maintenance workers employed by FUSD to resolve the issue.

Leaky roofs have affected areas on campus including Room 34, Room 213, the girls’ locker room, the Black Box, and the freshman and senior hallways. Standing water in these locations pose the threat of structural damage and mold growth.

The record-breaking October rainfall overwhelmed Irvington buildings’ roofs, which were constructed in the 1960s. Thermal expansion over time caused the roofs to develop small cracks, letting rainwater pass through. Irvington roofs have air conditioners on top that let in tree leaves, dust, and other materials that clog downspouts through runoff from excessive rain. Even repair work could have added extra weight and friction to already weathered roofs.

According to the School Accountability Report Card (SARC) of Irvington High School published in 2020, Irvington roofs’ repair status was labelled “Good” on Nov. 5th, 2020. The SARC has not been updated for the 2021-2022 school year, and crucial updated data about Irvington infrastructure is unavailable.

An email regarding maintenance issues on campus was sent to Irvington staff on Oct. 27, in which it stated that the issue of leaky roofs of rooms 203, 207, and 214 have been fixed. Roofs cannot be repaired when wet because adhesives required to seal cracks lose their effectiveness with water. The week of Oct. 25, aside from Monday, Oct. 25, had no precipitation, and provided an opportunity for maintenance to repair the remaining leaky roofs. However, according to Principal Nathania Chaney-Aiello, schools across FUSD have had the same problem as a result of the rain, and specialized maintenance workers were not able to repair more than 40 schools’ roofs within the same dry week to meet the high demand.

“Because the staff is specialized, there might only be one or two people with those skills across the district,” said Chaney-Aiello. “Depending on the season, different crews are in more or less demand.”

During the rain on Monday, Oct. 25, staff at Irvington used rubber squeegees to clean up water in the senior hallway from Room 27 to Room 61 and other locations on campus to make them safe for students to pass through.

“Even though it wasn’t a great way to start the week, one hundred percent of people chipped in,” reflected Chaney-Aiello. “It was not officially their job, but they just said, ‘this needs to happen.’”