What do you do with a beautiful old school when the city doesn’t want it anymore? Move in!
After it’s converted into loft apartments, of course. This 1920s school is located in the eclectic and always-interesting Little 5 Points neighborhood on Atlanta’s east side. It was originally built as a junior high school in 1923 and became a high school 1947. It closed permanently in 1990 and sat vacant for years until new owners took on the ambitious conversion project that was completed in 1998. Enough of the property’s original architectural details and integrity were maintained to earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. If you’ve been to the 7 Stages Theater on Euclid Avenue and looked across the street, you’ve seen it. Maybe you even went to school there — our foreman who worked on the project did!
Did you guess the building? It’s…
This property is unique, beautiful and challenging. As are most historical properties.
Several building clusters make up the complex — the classroom building, the gymnasium building, and new buildings that were added after the initial conversion. Sentry is proud to have been part of the original renovation for the original owners and to have just re-roofed the property again for new owners (we did not install the roofs on new-construction buildings).
Step one — waterproofing
With the most recent re-roofing, the owners and our team at Sentry decided we needed to engage a waterproofing expert before replacing the roof. Old brick can let in water and we all agreed it was best to re-roof after we were confident that the brick, capstone and windows wouldn’t leak.
Replacing the roof under 130 separate HVAC units
The most challenging aspect of re-roofing (other than the restricted work hours to be respectful of the residents) was the 130 individual HVAC units on the roof. First, we needed to lift each unit up about three feet. Then we needed to tear off the roof underneath it and put on the new roof. Then we needed to lower each unit again and flash around it. All while keeping the HVAC unit running the entire time!
To get the job done, we brought in a gantry crane, a device that’s typically used for lifting engines, and put boards underneath the units so we could lift them uniformly while they kept doing their job.
Having that many HVAC units spread out all over a roof means having a lot of service technicians on the roof, too. That’s not good for the roofing membrane. To protect the membrane from foot traffic, we installed cover board made out of the same material as the membrane instead of installing walk pads everywhere (walk pads are expensive and are often ignored anyway). The coverboard we used is very effective and also reflective.
So strong there’s even a puncture warranty
We did one more thing differently as an added precaution to guard against leaks — we brought the roofing membrane up the side of the brick at the roof line.
The combination of the cover board and fully adhered 60 mil TPO qualified this project for a 20-year No Dollar Limit manufacturer warranty and a puncture warranty, too, which covers any punctures caused by debris. All products were manufactured by Firestone, which is highlighting this Bass Lofts project in the media, including on the Building Design + Construction magazine website.
Some projects are especially rewarding and this is one of them. Meeting the challenges and the leadership and commitment to quality of owners BH Management Services make it stand out. Along with the results, of course.
Here are some more details about this project.