LENEXA, Kan. – In a unique program coordinated by the state of Utah, ten inmates and their supervisors recently installed a new Bellaforté Shake® roof on the Heber Valley Visitor Center. The minimum security inmates from the Lone Peak facility at the Utah State prison completed the polymer roof installation in 10 days with outstanding results.
Constructed in 1992, the alpine-style visitor's center was in dire need of a new roof. "When the team started pressure washing our wood shake roof this past autumn, water began leaking into the building," says Rachel Kahler, marketing and events manager for the Heber Valley Visitors Center. "The original wood shake roof had deteriorated badly over time and had finally given out.
"After reviewing our options and budget, we decided the best solution was new composite roofing from DaVinci Roofscapes® in a Tahoe-VariBlend. These simulated shake tiles beautifully accent our peg-and-groove building. The tiles look extremely authentic. People now stop in our visitor’s center and ask us about the roof on the building!"
Installation by Inmates
With the decision made to re-roof the structure, county leaders turned to Utah Correctional Industries (UCI) for installation assistance. Started in 1997 in conjunction with the Division of Facilities and Construction Management, the roofing program provides job training to low risk inmates who have been cleared and qualified for the work release program.
"The objective is to enable prisoners to make a contribution to society," says Jason Manwaring, correctional industries supervisor for UCI. "The program helps reduce prison idleness while increasing inmate job skills that can improve the prospects for a successful transition back into the community when they're released.
"There are actually 16 programs in the certified program with focuses on skills such as upholstery, construction, embroidery and furniture making. These programs help about 750 inmates stay positively engaged and learn work skills. Data shows that inmates with UCI work experience are less likely to return to prison, accounting for a 13 percent reduction in recidivism."
For the re-roofing of the Heber Valley Visitors Center, UCI inmates, under the supervision of Manwaring and Adam Pierce, learned skills associated with the easy-installation of Bellaforté Shake roofing tiles. "The DaVinci team was very supportive of this project, making it go smoothly for everyone involved," says Manwaring.
"The detailed installation guidelines were very easy to follow and the inmates were able to complete the entire roofing project in less than two weeks."
According to Kahler, the inmates did exemplary work. "These individuals were respectful, kind and professional," says Kahler. "Because we're in a high-profile location, we get 25,000 people cars passing us daily on Main Street. Whenever visitors stopped in our center during the roofing process, the inmates ensured the area was clean and the building accessible --- all while working efficiently to have the roof installed in a timely manner."
Wasatch County officials relate that UCI program inmates have installed two other roofs on county buildings in the past - on the courts/jail building in 2014 and on the county administrative building in 2012. "UCI does very good work," says Mike Davis, Wasatch County manager. "They're responsive and the quality of work is excellent.
"This was the first time our county used DaVinci products and we're exceptionally pleased with their look and durability. The next time we have a county roofing project we'll definitely consider another DaVinci roof."
For more information, visit www.davinciroofscapes.com.