Milwaukee Public Schools adopt innovative roof drainage system from Atlas to extend life of school buildings

Located throughout the city of Milwaukee and neighboring towns, MPS houses thousands of students.

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April 12, 2017 |

When Dennis Fula took over responsibility for the Milwaukee Public School System’s (MPS) roof maintenance more than twenty years ago, many of the school buildings were threatened with closure due to unsafe conditions. Determined to ensure the city’s students had safe roofs over their heads, Dennis partnered with Dan Dalle Nogare and the team at Atlas Roofing Corporation to solve those safety concerns, reduce maintenance costs and extend the life of the historic school buildings.

Located throughout the city of Milwaukee and neighboring towns, MPS houses thousands of students. After years of wear and tear from the harsh Wisconsin winters, the buildings’ roofs were in terrible shape, with some in threat of condemnation. Previously, the maintenance department had used short-term fixes by adding material to leaky roofs, ultimately worsening problems throughout the entire building network. Dennis realized the school system needed a long-term solution to their roofing problems and was able to successfully recommend the implementation of the Atlas Certified Drainage Program (CDP™).

CDP is a comprehensive service for low slope tapered roofs designed to eliminate ponding water on a roof’s surface. The program’s designs help to prevent structural roof collapse, moisture invasion, membrane degradation, loss of thermal resistance, ice formation, vegetation growth and voiding system warranty. The Atlas CDP team worked on site with the MPS maintenance crew to map each roof in the school system and design custom drainage solutions specific to every individual building. While some building materials manufacturers will give a 25-year warranty, CDP ensures positive slope and drainage, which helps extend the life of the roof beyond a typical warranty. With proper maintenance and care, the MPS roofing system can last for 40 years.



By utilizing the Atlas Roofing Corporation’s Certified Drainage Program, the Milwaukee Public School System team saved on time and labor in addition to extending the life of each roof by at least 10–15 years, and in some cases more than 20. In fact, before implementing the CDP system, each school was only getting 20, 15 or as few as 10 years out of a roofing surface. Now the MPS team expects their roofs to last at least 30 years. According to the team, since implementing this system over 20 years ago, they still have yet to replace a roof with the new CDP system installed.

While maintenance is still required, the number of repairs needed is reduced each year. Before utilizing the CDP, the MPS team would find 200–400 leaks to inspect after rain and now, they are dealing with an average of only 20–30 leaks per building, of which only a fraction are leaks caused by the roof. The MPS team is incredibly proud of the program’s success and of the unprecedented support from Atlas Roofing Corporation. According to the MPS team, “You’d hardly know these roofs are 20 years old… they look good as new.”

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