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Crews clear snow off Florence-Carlton school building

A crew from Jackson Contracting works to clear snow off the roof of the Florence-Carlton lower elementary school building. The building has been closed to students since Monday after teachers noticed the ceiling was bowed from the weight of the snow on the roof.

Florence-Carlton School officials could keep the lower elementary school closed through Wednesday while a crew finishes clearing snow off the roof.

The building that houses kindergarten through second-grade classes was evacuated Monday after teachers noticed the drop ceiling was bowed, said Florence-Carlton Superintendent Bud Scully.

“After they reported it to maintenance, we made the decision to get everyone out of the building,” Scully said.

A structural engineer inspected the building. He found that its trusses weren’t affected, but the weight of the snow on the roof exceeded state building standards.

“There was about 16 inches of snow on the roof,” Scully said. “The engineer said there was between 31 and 35 pounds per square foot. State standards are set at 30 pounds per square foot. His rough estimate put it right at its maximum.”

The engineer recommended removing the snow.

Scully said he and two other staff members worked at shoveling off the snow Monday, but the job was too big for the three of them.

On Tuesday, a crew of about 15 from Missoula’s Jackson Contracting was working on the roof with a snow blower, shovels and wheelbarrows to remove the snow.

“They said they would work until dark and then come back tomorrow to finish up,” Scully said. “We will have one more day with our kids out of there.”

The students are currently using other classrooms on the Florence-Carlton campus.

“I think there are a lot of people checking their roofs right now, especially after what happened at MSU,” Scully said, referring to two roof collapses at Montana State University in Bozeman. “It’s not worth taking a chance. You just need to get everyone out and get it taken care of.”


Associate Editor

Reporter for The Ravalli Republic.