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Northome's new municipal building springs a leak

Water was leaking so profusely in the bar area of the new municipal building, several large plastic garbage cans were used to catch it. Photo by Tom Bonar

The new Northome municipal building was literally just days away from opening when disaster struck.

The city clerk's office had been moved into the new building the weekend of Feb. 7, and the liquor store was tentatively scheduled to open sometime the week of Feb. 16-20. The last of the liquor store equipment was scheduled to arrive the week before. The pool table, games and juke box were already in place. Everyone agreed the store was about one week away from opening.

But disaster struck late Sunday, Feb.8, when the roof began to leak in the bar area. The next day, phone calls were made to the architect and construction company and a large plastic wastebasket was placed under the drip. Due to extremely icy roads that day, roofing crews were not able to come.

The following day, Feb. 10, it was found the leak had increased substantially. Also, more leaks were found elsewhere in the building -- in the community room, the rear hallway between the community room and laundromat and in the men's restroom in the bar. The big garbage can that had been placed in the bar the previous day was nearly full and there was a standing water across much of the bar.

By late in the day, the leaks were patched and the floors dried. Over the next few days, Sheetrock was taken down in several areas to look for moisture and damage and help things dry out to prevent mold.

Feb. 18, the general contractor held a meeting in the building with subcontractors to discuss repair strategies and timelines.

The city council met and it was decided to temporarily halt all work being done on the building until the city could get an independent inspector to come in and complete a separate inspection for the city.