By Carlos Toro
In the beginning of the semester, drop ceiling tiles were removed during and after the first major snowstorm. They revealed a beautiful, yet leaky skylight that had been hidden underneath since it was installed two years ago.
Michael Reca, associate vice president of facilities and auxiliary services, said that the skylight needed covering and that it has not been functioning fully since it was put in place. “Skylights always leak” based on the nature of their design, he said.
“We’re just going to be replacing it with regular roof decking material, insulated and the rubber roof on top,” Reca said. “This skylight thing has been there since the original renovations took place two years ago. We had put some seals around them and the skylight has not been fully functional for the space.”
Reca said that the skylight will be replaced during the summer and that it will cost between $15,000 and $20,000. The process will take approximately two to three weeks and “is going to be invisible to everybody in the building.” Reca sees the work as something that will benefit the facility in the long run.
The changes were originally going to be made in the summer of 2015, but Reca cited timing as the reason why work was postponed. Reca said that with so many projects that utilized the school’s facilities staff, there simply was not enough money or manpower to get the job done on time.
Weather had also been a factor. The snowstorm that hit Rider last winter affected the skylight, which prompted the immediate need for repair. Reca said that with the way the ventilation system was set up, the snow blew in the direction of the skylight and there was two feet of snow in that area, something that he said he has never seen before.
“We had the snowstorm, and because of the way the wind blew, the cap has a vent in it where the air can travel,” Reca said. “It was almost like a terrarium. When you have a skylight and have light shining on it, it heats up inside there. What happened was, during the snowstorm, wind was actually blowing the snow up the glass and up under the cap and it was coming down inside the skylight.”
In the meantime, the skylight has a plastic covering. Reca said even that solution was getting a little old and needed to be repaired. The covering is a temporary fix until full renovations are done.
“We had a milky plastic covering below the skylight,” Reca said. “It let natural light come in which was diffused by the plastic covering.”
Reca said that it was an inevitability that the skylight needed to be covered and replaced.
“No matter when you put [skylights] in, they will eventually leak and for our purposes, we would rather just cover them up and use better lighting in that space and do what we can with it,” Reca said.