Historic Sawtooth Roof Expected to Leak

The 100 years old Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C., is probably going to leak whenever it rains even after extensive repairs recently made. The buildings age and certain distinctive structural properties listed as the main reasons. The historic building is constructed so that rainwater tends to pool in roof areas that have poor drainage. Water also seeps through the cracks of old windows with outdated seals.

The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County financed the repairs by raising $26 million. The extent of the leaks has dropped significantly after massive renovations to the roof, gutters and storm drains. A rubbery substance placed beneath the sawteeth slopes and helps channel rainwater to nearby drains. Before the repairs, rain water ran down interior walls and collected up to 6 inches in trash bins. Now officials say the rainwater puddle on the floor is much more manageable and can be cleaned up with a paper towel.

The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. If the council were to replace the sawtooth roof, it would destroy its historic character. This area of the Arts center started life about 100 years ago as Shamrock Mills, the first mill of Hanes Hosiery.

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