Burrillville’s Jesse Smith Library set to get new roof – at cost of nearly half a million


BURRILLVILLE – If you’re a regular patron at Jesse Smith Memorial Library, it’s a problem you may likely have noticed.

From damaged ceiling tiles to giant buckets catching rain water, the Tinkham Lane facility shows evidence that it’s been a regular victim of leaks over the years. Efforts to address the problem in the years since it first opened have, at times, provided short-term breaks from the moisture seeping in, but inevitably, water has found its way back into various parts of the two-story building – again and again.

Library Director Beth Ullucci said the issue began right after the facility opened in 2008.

“They’ve always been in the admin wing,” Ullucci told members of the Town Council at a meeting this month of the leaks. “If you go in the library you’ll see ceiling tiles, doors damaged. You’ll see a collection of buckets, and sheeting, and stuff like that.”

Ullucci, who was not present at the start, said she was told that a contractor had ruptured the membrane of the building’s roof seal while installing a partition by Tinkham Lane.

“When I became director, I tried to fix the leaks, and I was always under the impression that it was the partition that was causing the problem,” she said.

In the director’s first major effort to address the issue, she had that partition encapsulated.

“That actually worked pretty good for a couple of years,” she said.

But the fix stopped working after a major windstorm around five or six years ago.

“It cracked, and the leaks started again,” Ullucci said.

By 2020, some of those leaks became major, and over the next few years, the giant buckets began to appear. The building features two flat roofs and a few pitched roofs, and Ullucci also began having trouble with a low slope roof over the second floor.

“The flat roofs are usually the ones that cause the problems for us,” she said.

Carpets had to be replaced in 2021 and Ullucci requested funds for roof repair in the town’s 2022 CIP budget. The request was approved – but only one company ultimately bid on the project. She was hopeful when they showed up and started the work.

“They basically ditched the project because they said it was caused by the window seals,” she said.

Since then, Ullucci said windows on the building have been sealed at least three times a year – and it still has leaks, including one that damaged the entrance in 2023 – the same year one of the pitched roofs also started leaking.

Ullucci put out an RFP once again hoping to stop the problem last year, this time focusing again on the partition.

“We got some very strange, different bids, all the way from the $300,000s to the $190,000s,” she said.

In effort to re-do the RFP, the library hired a roof consultant.

“Basically, what they said was that the whole roof needs to be repaired,” Ulluccie said, recommending the Town Council hire Commercial Roofing at a cost of $493,000.

“The reason it’s so high – our roof is not like you have at home,” she explained. “It’s a membrane. Flat roofs have some kind of a rubber membrane that encapsulates everything.”

“Flat roofs have been a nightmare for every building that have them,” agreed Councilor Stephen Rawson.

The council unanimously approved the request, with $154,000 to come from from previously appropriated funds, $26,800 utilized from the library’s undesignated funds and $312,200 in new appropriation to be allocated from the town’s major capital fund.

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  1. Carlise Roof System are A+ Hope the bids come in favorable.

    Can Burrillville fix some of the roads in Town?
    Spring Lake Rd, Steere St, Hill Rd (West – Stone Barn), Stone Barn, Joslin Rd, Inman Rd, Maureen Cr and Cooper Hill Rd to name just a few. All in very very poor condition, costing thousands in both road & vehicle repair bills!

    Thank you.

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