The men and women who work in the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center may finally have a non-leaky roof over their heads.

At the Sept. 30 meeting of the Civic Center Committee – the first in more than a year – members agreed to recommend that City Council approve about $1.5 million for a new roof and other repairs. The package also includes new balustrades and downspouts, relining the gutters, and repairs to tuck pointing, cornices and flashings. Committee members also accepted a staff recommendation for carpet tiles to cover cracked and broken asbestos-containing linoleum on many of the floors.

Doug Gaynor, director of Parks/Forestry and Recreation for the City, said the mold and leakage problems of the past few years are under control, “and, as [these problems recur] our facilities staff will go in and correct them.”

The HVAC system is in better condition than before, reported Facilities Manager David Cook. He said he had found a company on the Internet that offered the kind of heat pumps needed for the system in the Civic Center. A few years ago, his predecessor said such heat pumps were not available and that City crews continually repaired broken pumps to keep the system up and running.


Anne McGuire of Evanston-based McGuire Igleski & Associates, the company hired by the City to investigate roof repairs, presented four options for the roof – slate, synthetic slate and asphalt shingles a standing sheet metal roof. At a cost of $1.5 million and $5,000 expected annual maintenance costs, the asphalt shingles were the choice of the committee, as well as the recommendation of City staff. These repairs, including the new shingles, would have an expected useful life of 50 years, Ms. McGuire said.

City Council must approve the committee’s recommendation. Mr. Gaynor said he anticipated that, if the Council approved the recommendation, construction would begin next spring.


A memo from City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz and Mr. Gaynor to the City Council members recounted City staff members’ monitoring of asbestos-containing materials (ACM). While some ACM was identified and abated in 1984, this past August Davis Environmental Labs reported that their test results showed ACM in “numerous pipes throughout the ceiling of the ground floor.” The Davis report said the ACM “poses no threat to the occupants of the building,” according to Mr. Gaynor and Mr. Bobkiewicz’s memo, but Davis recommended removing the insulating material and replacing it with “a more benign type of insulation.” The cost of that abatement would be between $50,000 and $75,000, according to the memo.

ACM was also “identified in the sheet linoleum hallway floor finish in the original building on floors G through 4 and in the concession area on the second floor,” the memo stated, adding that such information was reported to the Civic Center Committee in 2008. The most cost-effective way to address the problem would be to encapsulate the material in place, covering the linoleum with carpet tiles. These tiles would smooth out the bumps arising from cracks in the floor substrate, which pushed the linoleum tiles up and allowed them to break off.

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...