Public Safety building's clay tile roof may come downThe city of Woodbury’s out-of-style clay roof tiles may end up in the trash pile.
The city of Woodbury’s out-of-style clay roof tiles may end up in the trash pile.
As the city plans an expansion of its Public Safety headquarters, it is considering replacing the building’s unusual pantile roof with a metal roof that better resembles other area buildings.
The clay tiles are in good shape, so their removal would be for architectural and cosmetic purposes. Officials say the clay-tile style clashes with the nearby City Centre development and is not a common feature.
“We don’t have any other Mediterranean-look buildings,” City Administrator Clint Gridley said.
The replacement would come at a cost. An initial estimate was pegged at $176,000, but it has not been put out for bid.
The item is not part of the main renovation plan. It is among five alternate building changes that may be considered if overall project bidding comes in under the city’s roughly $8 million construction budget.
Bidding only would be done if the City Council approves the project next month, which appears likely based on council members’ recent discussions. While building construction could cost around $8 million, total project expenses, with financing, are estimated at $12.5 million.
Bob Klatt, Woodbury’s parks and recreation director, said city staff only would consider recommending replacing the roof if the project fits within budget guidelines.
“If we get great bids on it and things are under budget, it’s an easier decision whether or not to do it,” Klatt said, adding: “If we’re doing construction now, this is kind of the time to do it.”
Unusual roofing material
The clay-tile roof was just as unusual in Woodbury 35 years ago.
Jim Jensen served on the City Council when the building was constructed. Jensen, whose day job involved designing office space for 3M, said council members chose the clay tile roof because it looked nice.
“Basically, the people at the time thought it would be kind of classy,” Jensen, 68, said in a recent interview from his Battle Lake, Minn., home.
Back then, Jensen said, the city did not hire outside architectural firms for building design, now a standard process. Instead, council members worked with city engineers, who drew construction plans.
A clay tile roof was considered more attractive than the metal roofs available at the time. Metal roofs reminded people of a barn, Jensen said, but metal options are more appealing now.
“As much as anything, it was an aesthetic consideration,” Jensen said of the council’s clay tile selection. “We thought it would look nice with that long brick building.”
That project went forward, but clay tiles did not become the standard roofing material.
“We don’t have anything else in the city that ever had that type of construction – other than maybe Ol’ Mexico,” Klatt said, referring to the former restaurant that is now Throwbacks Grille and Bar.
Architecturally, the clay tile roof is unusual, but structurally, it’s still sound. The tiles are 35 years old and while some need repair, the roof could last longer.
“They’re very durable and they’ll last 50 years or more,” Klatt said.
Some of the tile roof must be removed if the main renovation goes forward. The city will decide whether to remove all of the tiles. The project is low on the priority list – other alternatives include more storage space and a “green” roof on a different part of the building to limit stormwater runoff – but the city’s contracted building designers, KKE Architects, recommended the clay tile be replaced.
If council members approve the roofing project, Klatt said the city would look for ways to preserve the tiles for possible resale or recycling, but that would depend on cost.