Jefferson Center Shows Off Their New Roof

The Jefferson Center’s new roof is just the beginning of several new capital maintenance improvements.

by Valerie Garner

The Jefferson Center’s leaky roof leaks no more. Wednesday Executive Director Cyrus Pace gave a tour of the completed roof. The cement roof now has consists of one inch of insulation with one inch of rubber covered with gravel rocks.

The Jefferson Center expects to keep its historic, 1920’s era facility free from additional water damage. “Before the replacement, the roof had very serious leaks and we couldn’t be sure what area of Jefferson Center would be damaged next,” said Pace.

When faced with maintenance repairs in May of 2011Pace asked Roanoke City for financial help for the successfully renovated Jefferson Center. Council in the briefing was reluctant to set a precedent by making a contribution. They advised Pace that it would be a “one time” monetary assist.

Cyrus Pace

The city provided a maximum of $100,000 in the form of matching funds. The matching funds mostly came from Jefferson High School Alumni and individual donations. They came up with $116,000 – more than enough to match the city’s requirement.

In addition the Horace Fralin Trust matched that by a $1.50 for every dollar resulting in additional funds of $150,000. Pace said they use the interest off the Trust for ongoing maintenance.

“The project got underway last fall and McNeil Roofing crews worked diligently to replace the roof,” said Pace. It came in at $215,500 –  the original amount quoted by McNeil. The roof is under a 20-year warranty with 15 years of that including labor.

Still on the horizon is a “to do list” needing attention in the next three to five years. That list includes carpet, paint and other aesthetic repairs. In addition there are “major needs in relation to upgrades in technology, internal lighting, and external façade maintenance and repairs,” said Pace. The HVAC system is 20 years old and looms as another future capital maintenance project at a cost of half a million dollars. There is $6000 left over from the roof project.

The roof project was a vital step towards securing the future of Jefferson Center as the region’s premiere arts and education center. It is home to 20+ non-profit tenant organizations and functions as a music and arts education hub for artistic teens in Southwest Virginia.

 While Jefferson Center is pleased to call the roof replaced, staff and supporters know that when it comes to a historic facility built in the 1920’s there is certainly more to do, explained Pace.

“There still remains a list of capital requirements that need addressed to ensure that Grammy winners like Esperanza Spalding and world class musicians like Wynton Marsalis continue to have an opportunity to share their gifts with the residents of Southwest Virginia,” said Pace. “[Additionally,] we maintain a center for arts education programs like Music Lab and Sisters of the Circle and also provide homes for our non-profit tenants who are able to concentrate on mission goals, rather than capital needs.”

Pace expressed his gratitude to all those who supported the roof replacement project including, the City of Roanoke, the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust, Jefferson High School Alumni, the Carilion Clinic Foundation, Sam and Marion Golden Helping Hand Foundation, JMM Charitable Lead Trust, Norfolk Southern Foundation, many of the guests at Jefferson Center’s 10 year celebration and gala event and all those who continue to support Jefferson Center’s mission to bring world class artistry to Southwest Virginia.