Blythe Park School in Riverside will get a new roof this summer and it will cost about $1.1 million.

On March 21, the Riverside Elementary School District 96 Board of Education voted 6-0 to accept the bid from Joliet based Elens & Maichen Roofing and Sheet Metal to replace the roof. 

Elens & Maichen was the low bidder among the three roofing companies submitting bids. Five companies examined the bid specifications.

“The bids came in quite a bit higher than we had anticipated,” said Jeff Miller, the president of the District 96 Board of Education.

Last year, board members believed that they could replace the roof for between $600,000 and $800,000.

The roof of Blythe Park School is more complicated than the typical school roof. Blythe Park School, built in 1948, was given landmark status by the Riverside Village Board in 1993. Designed by the noted architectural firm Perkins and Will, the school is considered a masterpiece of mid-20th century school design. 

The total amount of the Elens & Maichen bid that was accepted is $1,130,510, which includes a base bid of $967,230 and three additions: $127,650 to replace the clerestory windows in the roof, $4,870 for masonry tuck pointing adjacent to the roof and $30,760 for the abatement of asbestos in the original shingles if any is discovered during the demolition. 

The bid also includes $40,000 in allowances for unforeseen expenses during the project. If any or all of the $40,000 allowance is not needed for additional work that amount will be credited back to District 96.

The bid from Elens & Maichen was $50,590 lower than the bid submitted by the next lowest bidder, A-1 Roofing Co. 

Relying on the suggestion of board member Joel Marhoul, a civil engineer, the board decided not to add another alternative to the base bid, a heat trace system — a form of radiant heating — which would have added $61,000 to the cost of the project. That system would have helped melt snow that accumulates on the roof. 

“I think we have the opportunity to do the right thing without spending more than we have to,” Marhoul said.

Marhoul said he thought the new roof, which will have smaller clerestory windows than the current roof, will change the slope in spots and allow for additional insulation and a few more drains, which could make the radiant heating system unnecessary. 

The district’s architect, Carrie Matlock, who had recommended including the radiant heating system, said that if in the future a radiant heating system turned out to be needed, it could be added later.

“Here’s an option to be smart with our money,” Marhoul said. “Belt and suspenders is nice when you’ve got unlimited funds but it’s not absolutely necessary and if it’s truly a problem in the future it can added.”

Elens & Maichen has done work at many schools, including Bolingbrook High School, Lincoln Way Central High School, Joliet Central High School, Lewis University, and Elmhurst College.

The current roof has been leaking in spots for a few years and it is at the end of its useful life.