Can You Name This Building? (We roofed it!) Hint: It’s the Oldest Institute of Its Kind

Yerkes-BuildingThis is one unique building! The front of this complex’s main building has a distinctive, semicircular curve that has earned it the nickname “the eye.”

But what’s inside (and, of course, on the very top) is even more interesting. It houses an institution that was founded more than 80 years ago and is the only one of its kind doing very specific types of health research. The institution was moved from Yale University to Emory University in 1965 and last week received a $35.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to work towards finding an HIV/AIDS vaccine and cure. Decades of research in microbiology, immunology, neurologic diseases and other groundbreaking work paved the way for this important project.

Final hint: it’s home to more than 1,200 chimpanzees and monkeys,13,000 rodents and (during work hours) 400 faculty, staff and researchers.

Did you guess the building? It’s…


Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University

Sentry began working on the facility in 1998 when we re-roofed the eye building with a modified bitumen roof. After that, we made repairs on other sections of the roof, re-roofed the Virology Lab, re-roofed parts of roofs on other buildings in the complex, and made adjustments to the eye building roofing system as new equipment was added — you can see in the photo that it has a crowded rooftop! This is a well-built structure with a properly installed and maintained commercial roof so it can handle all the demands.

Special considerations for a special building

Institutional buildings like this have other demands, as well, when it comes to installing and managing a high-performing roof.

From scheduling priorities and noise control issues to working around highly unique situations — in this case, animals and viruses — it’s extremely important for roofing professionals to listen closely to a client’s needs and comply with their requests to minimize the impact on the facility whether re-roofing the entire building or sections of it.

At Sentry, we don’t just jump in and get started. We talk about all of the possible problems and scenarios (and what we’ll do if they come up) in addition to the usual commercial roofing discussions. And we keep communicating throughout the process, with frequent meetings and feedback so we can adjust, if needed.

Working together for effective roof management

We believe the Yerkes National Primate Center is an excellent example of how a commercial roofing contractor can work in a long-term partnership with an institution that serves an important and unique purpose. We are proud to be approaching two decades of collaboration with the Yerkes Primate Center on the Emory campus and also at its 117-acre Lawrenceville field station. Our team was brought into the project initially by EllisDon, a construction and building services firm, and also worked with Genoa Construction general contractors on some of the projects.

Here are some more details about this project.

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