State-of-the-Art Roof

Science Building Reroof for University in Billings, Montana

by Ali Turner, editorial assistant

Montana State University Billings (MSUB) is the state’s third largest university and plays an integral part in the local community.  Its Allied Health Professions program is a shining star among the university’s offerings, and includes renowned departments that include healthcare services, health and human performance, athletic training, and rehab and human services.  Students embarking on these rigorous programs in the hopes of one day changing the world were, until recently, doing so under a roof that was leaking above their heads.  Despite having undergone repairs over the years, MSUB’s administration knew that the Yellowstone Science and Allied Health Building was due for a major renovation, but knew it was going to be a huge challenge.

         Thankfully, Empire Roofing, Billings, Montana, isn’t afraid of a challenge, and has worked on some of the most complex roofing projects across Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Idaho, and Washington.  Their team has decades of experience in providing cutting-edge products, quality workmanship, and outstanding finished projects.  Everett Martin, president, sits on the 2018-2019 Board of Directors for the Western States Roofing Contractors Association and has been a committed member of the industry since he was a child, helping his father on the roof at age ten and becoming a full-time professional at the age of 18.  Whether its repairs, replacements, preventative maintenance, disaster response, or new construction, Empire Roofing is always ready to step in and save the day.  For MSUB, they were the perfect contractor for the massive renovation.

         After several years of fundraising by the MSUB Foundation, the building, originally constructed in 1947, was given the green light to renovate and update in order to accommodate university students and their educational needs.  Prior to the renovation, students were known to experience roof leaks while attending classes and seminars, and water would even drip onto their papers and computers. 

         The renovation included an expansion of approximately 30,000 sq.ft., which meant the original building received two new additions, amounting to three total roof areas.  In order to complete the new roof, Empire Roofing set up three different areas of the roof, and didn’t move to another section before completing the previous one.  It took tremendous organization on Empire Roofing’s part to execute such a complex roofing project.  By sectioning it into parts, the team was able to maintain a clear and concise workflow throughout the project timeline.

         The new roof has 48 penetrations and 180 squares that were torn off and built back up with a base layer of 3” and were fully tapered on to a height of up to 22” of polyiso.  The roof is mechanically attached with an adhered membrane system from Burke Industries that came with a 30-year warranty.  An ES-1 edge metal system consisting of a 24-guage steel coping cap made in house with Drexel Metals was also used to maintain the hardiness of the roof perimeter.  Drexel Metal’s edge system is built weather-tough to provide maximum wind resistance and eliminate roof edge blow off.

         The project was a complete tear-off, with insulation and DensDeck® added before a 60 mil Burke CSPE system was applied.   “The Burke system that we installed on this roof is a proven system that has performed in Montana and Wyoming for over 30 years with little to no callbacks by any of the owners that we have worked for,” said Randy Konzen, foreman, Empire Roofing.  “I have installed Burke roofs on many diverse projects in my 35 years of roofing, and it is the only roof I can walk on that I installed as a laborer that is still performing as intended today.”

         Empire Roofing has completed similar large-scale roofing projects in Billings, such as hospitals, that are prone to heavy foot-traffic, HVAC installation, remodels, additions, and Montana’s unforgiving weather.  “In my opinion there is no equal product to use when the roof being installed needs to last over a 30+ year lifespan,” said Jake Martin, vice president, Empire Roofing, and Everett Martin’s son.  “The membrane, as well as the Burke team, has been there for us for decades, and I believe that this product has no equal in the market for proven resistance to extreme weather and long-term usage.”

         Lots of detail work, flashings, and 14 curbs made the job complicated, but Empire Roofing was able to finish the project on time and without issue.  “We are finally able to offer our science and allied health students state-of-the-art facilities that match the quality education offered at MSUB,” said chancellor Dan Edelman.  “It will serve as a proud beacon of learning in the community for years to come,” added Mark Pagano, MSUB provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

         MSUB’s Yellowstone Science and Allied Health Building joins the ranks amidst other university buildings that utilize Burke roof systems.  With the help of Empire Roofing’s precision installation, MSUB students and faculty are now able to enjoy the new hands-on laboratory environment and enhanced research facility with a high-quality, durable, and environmentally friendly roof over their heads. 

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