City of Albuquerque hasn’t fixed leaky roof on $7.5M building

Emails obtained by KRQE News 13 through a public records request showed Senior Affairs received quotes in November, but just placed the funding request last week.

Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – When it rains, it pours right into the city of Albuquerque’s community center near Four Hills.

KRQE News 13 has learned the city still hasn’t fixed the leaky roof at Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center, four months after we first reported the story about the city’s $7.5 million building with a big problem. Senior Affairs finally submitted an emergency purchase request for the half-million dollar roofing project to the city’s purchasing office last week.

So, what happens when it rains? There’s a stopgap for that.

“We do have a collection system in place,” said Rhonda Methvin, division manager for the city of Albuquerque’s department of Senior Affairs. She then pointed out a storage room where the ceiling had been destroyed from water damage. A kiddie pool was strategically placed in the corner to collect water.

The “collection system” doesn’t stop there.

“They do have to bring out some buckets and collect the water,” said Brad Mason, who visits the community center several times a week. “It’s been going on at least a year.”

Emails obtained by KRQE News 13 through a public records request showed Methvin received quotes for the roof back in November, but just placed the funding request last week. The emails also showed the community center’s manager had been asking the Senior Affairs department to make other numerous repairs, as well.

The delays on the roof work are for taxpayer’s benefit, Methvin said.

“It’s part of being fiscally responsible to make sure we’ve gotten everything covered in the bids,” she said.

Taxpayers could end up paying more money because of the wait.

A March 3 city memo from Risk Management to Senior Affairs said more waiting means more water damage. “The ultimate amount for repairs will continue to rise … This is endangering and jeopardizing 8,000 patrons and staff,” it said.

The memo pointed out problems stemming from the leaks, things like damaged sheet rock, bubbled paint, and collapsed insulation. It also addressed other safety concerns which weren’t directly tied to the water damage: The parking lot lights hadn’t been repaired, so the city was renting lights, instead. A restroom was unusable because the toilet was removed from the wall and “piled on the floor.”

Risk Management suggested activities at the center be put on hold until the repairs are made.

In response, Jorja Armijo-Brasher, director of Senior Affairs, sent a memo to Michael Riordan, chief operations officer for the city. She said Senior Affairs as well as the Department of Municipal Development disagreed with that recommendation. Armijo-Brasher outlined a plan for repairs and said her department would hire an abatement firm to clean up any mold.

In February, Senior Affairs had already received a quote from an environmental company to come out to test the air quality and determine the extent of mold growth in the building. The cost for the mold survey: $3,282.10.

The test was never done.

“It was determined that it would be better to put that $3,200 toward the engineering, design of a new roof rather than a mold survey,” Methvin told KRQE News 13.

(Two weeks ago, City Councilors approved $1.5 million dollars for a new recreational center with pickleball courts on or near Manzano Mesa. Methvin says that funding doesn’t come from Senior Affairs.)

In the meantime, the women’s restroom has been fixed. As for the parking lot lights, Methvin says they “hope by mid-May all the lights will be functioning.”

The roof replacement project could start next month, as well. It’s expected to last three months, taking the project right into monsoon season.

On Wednesday, Methvin referenced KRQE News 13’s last story on the roof problems. “Like I talked about in December, I said I hoped to have someone on contract by the first of the year,” she said. “We’re still in that period of time.”

Asked for clarification, Methvin explained “first of the year” does not mean January 1.

“When I think about the first of the year, I always think in quarters. We made our selection within the first quarter of the year,” she said. “We are now beginning April. We have made the selection and we’re proceeding with it.”

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