James C. Colgate Student Union, Colgate University – Hamilton, New York
The James C. Colgate Student Union sits prominently at the base of Colgate University and is a visual icon as one approaches the campus in Hamilton, New York. Bell & Spina Architects was retained to investigate and design complete replacement of the slate roof, standing-seam and flatseam copper roofs; reconstruct the third-floor dormers; replace the dormer window; and address roof drainage. It was very important to the university that the new roof materials be faithful to the original building while balancing the aesthetic, maintenance, and performance requirements desired.
The original slate roof was over 75 years old and had undergone many years of damaging weather and repairs. Repairs to the building were becoming difficult and expensive, and major leaks were consistently reported. During the investigation, it was discovered that the attic space was marginally insulated at the floor level and contained multiple HVAC units outside the thermal envelope. This arrangement resulted in major snow and icing issues and slate damage, some of which were hazardous.
Initially, 20×14 green and mottled purple grade-S1 slate shingles were specified to match the existing slate. Prior to the awarding of the contract, the owner accepted an alternate option to provide an interlocking clay tile product by Ludowici Tile in lieu of slate. The project specifications also included 16- and 20-oz. copper for flashings, standing seams, and flatseam copper work. Copper and brass snow rails and snow pads, in addition to copper and stainless steel nails and fasteners, were specified throughout.
The project specifications required numerous mockups and benchmark installations to assure quality and performance. For example, the sheet metal flashings and trim specifications required that any mechanic proposing to install soldered copper work be required to demonstrate his or her ability to fabricate, prepare, tin, and fully sweat a flat seam joint. Elsewhere, the specifications required sample installation of the roof tile for blending and color distribution.
Continuous thermal insulation was added to the roof deck due to limitations on working inside. The deck required new wall flashings and replacement and resetting of through-wall flashings at the capstones. Historic natural hydraulic limebased mortars were specified for repointing the original stone mortar joints. Mock-ups of a typical dormer were required for review and acceptance.