ARCHITECTURAL WEST MAGAZINE

ARCHITECTURAL WEST MAGAZINE

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Cover story March 2013
‘Star Spangled’ Roof
Creative Use of Colored Roof Membrane in Colorado Springs

There have been many creative uses of colored single-ply roof membranes over the years, but Colorado Springs, Colorado’s “star spangled” TPO roof stands out as a marvel of craftsmanship. The construction of the 117’ x 65’ American flag meets federal specifications and became a morale booster for Colorado Springs residents. Roofing contractor, Scott Riopelle, and foreman, Don Doubleday, had been looking for a roof to accommodate a U.S. flag for some time. Then, on June 6, 2012, a severe hailstorm damaged the modified bitumen roof of a building on Academy Avenue, as well as many others. It looked like Riopelle’s company, Interstate Roofing, had found a potential home for its 76-square U.S. flag.

IntelliTec Medical Institute had leased the building for about 15 years from property owner Ernest Dill when its custodian noticed water pouring in from the roof. Dill’s attorney contacted Interstate Roofing in Denver for a quote on the roofing work. The surprise came when project manager, Jake Reid, broached the idea of the huge flag while walking the roof with the owner’s representative.

“For me, the idea of a flag was a no-brainer,” says property owner Dill. “It was a patriotic gesture that is needed in Colorado Springs and throughout the country. Fortunately, our roof was clear of equipment and was the right dimensions to fit a flag of that size.”

It turned out that the roof was in the flight line of military aircraft from Peterson Air Force Base. The U.S. Air Force Academy and Fort Carson (U.S. Army) are also located nearby. “The roof gave us an opportunity to thank our people in the military service every day,” says Dill, who is a retired president of Western Colorado College.

However, a second natural disaster of much greater magnitude than the roof-killing hailstorm was to impact Colorado Springs just a few weeks later. The Waldo Canyon forest fire started ten miles northwest of Colorado Springs on June 23, 2012. It took almost three weeks to contain the wildfire, which was the most destructive in Colorado history. More than 32,000 people were evacuated from the area at the peak of the fire. The fire killed two people and destroyed nearly 350 homes. “The fires were still smoldering when Interstate Roofing committed to a start date (August 28, 2012) for the flag roof,” says project manager, Roland Gonzalez. “It still looked like ‘ground zero’ as we worked, but the finished flag became a strong morale booster for a community that had really suffered.”

The wildfire was so intense that insurance adjusters could not safely enter the area until the end of September, 2012, and the Mountain Shadows subdivision is still being rebuilt today. However, the flag roof was completed on Sept. 11, 2012, just in time to be included in Colorado Spring’s 9/11 memorial. Interviews with Interstate Roofing crews were aired by a local NBC affiliate later that day. “The response from the town has been amazing,” says Interstate general manager, Dustin DeVito. “As the project was nearing completion, military jets would fly overhead and dip one wing toward the building in a symbolic salute. Naturally, the roofing crew was ecstatic.”

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