McLean County Museum Roof | Bloomington, IL

(St. Louis, MO, July 27) Extensive water damage from an aging roof threatened to destroy treasured artifacts housed at the McLean County Museum of History in Downtown Bloomington, IL. The water intrusion resulted from a 30-year-old, damaged roof that had exceeded its useful life span by more than five years, allowing rain to leak through the roof and insulation, clay tile, and mortar down into the building’s ceilings and interior rooms.

The nationally accredited, award-winning museum occupies the former McLean County Courthouse, an American Renaissance-style structure built between 1900 and 1903. The building features a limestone-clad facade and solid masonry construction with a steeply sloping roof connecting the built-in gutter to the clocktower dome rising from its center. The old roof consisted of a 4-ply, built-up asphalt roof over one-inch perlite insulation mopped to the clay tile deck.

Although the McLean County maintenance staff had repaired the roof over the years, it no longer functioned properly and needed to be replaced immediately, along with the historic building’s drainage system. According to reports, as much as 14 gallons of water had leaked into the building after heavy spring rains, causing extensive damage. Although the water had damaged no artifacts, one area of the museum had to be closed off, and an office relocated due to the leaking roof. a 4-ply, built-up asphalt roof over one-inch perlite insulation mopped to the clay tile deck.

“The entire job was very challenging. We had to stage materials on the grounds as we needed them because the old clay tile deck could not be overloaded. Tearing off the old roof every day was equally difficult because we had to crane materials down and up from the street as we progressed.”

Jared Osterman, Western Specialty Contractors Peoria Assistant Branch Manager

In 2020, the McLean County Board agreed to hire Scharnett Architects & Associates of Bloomington to perform architectural and engineering services to replace the building’s roof and improve its drainage system. Western Specialty Contractors’ Peoria Roofing Branch was contracted to replace the historic building’s damaged roof, with work on the project starting in May 2021.

Western’s crew removed the old roof and replaced it with a Firestone UltraPly TPO roofing system consisting of an 80 mil white membrane over gypsum coverboard, Polyisocyanurate insulation, and vapor barrier directly over the clay tile deck.

The architect designed the new TPO roof system to go above and beyond what the manufacturer recommended, with double membrane thick valleys and ridges and built-in gutters lined with TPO and terminated with a liquid flashing, three-course step. The liquid flashing was use in place of counterflashing to minimize the use of mechanical fasteners in the historic structure. The job also required a 30-year, 80 MPH Firestone Roof warranty, including hail, cut, and puncture resistance.

A team member from Western's Springfield branch grinding out a reglet
A team member from Western's Springfield branch grinding out a reglet

Western’s Springfield, IL Branch also participated in the project by grinding out reglets, reworking the clay tiles around the drain replacements, and cleaning and sealing limestone at the gutter edge.

Performing a successful mock system pull test to ensure the new roof’s viability and strength, Western completed the roof replacement in September 2021. The museum had been closed to visitors during the roof replacement project while its restrooms were remodeled and its lighting fixtures replaced.

Julie Emig, the museum’s Executive Director, noted that the staff was relieved when the roof was restored. “The quality of Western Specialty Contractors’ work, especially given the complexity of this project, was outstanding. We no longer worry that the next rainstorm could damage our award-winning collections and exhibits.”

About Western Specialty Contractors

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing, and specialty roofing. Western offers a nationwide network of expertise that building owners, engineers, architects, and property managers can count on to develop cost-effective, corrective measures that can add years of useful life to a variety of structures, including industrial, commercial, healthcare, historic, educational and government buildings, parking structures, and sports stadiums. Western is headquartered in St. Louis, MO, with 30 branch offices nationwide and employs more than 1,200 salaried and hourly professionals who offer the best, time-tested techniques and innovative technology. For more information about Western Specialty Contractors, visit         

Employee Spotlight | Crystal Lazzara

Western would like to recognize Crystal Lazzara as our Employee Spotlight.

Kudos, Crystal—and thank you for being a valued member of the Western team!

Q&A with Crystal Lazzara


What is your role at Western?

I am the Office Manager for the NYC Metro Branch. My role is to oversee the day-to-day operations of the administrative side of the office. I also assist the PMs, Branch Manager, Region Manager, and Region Controller with any tasks they need assistance with.


What do you like most about Western?

I like that although we are a nationwide company, you feel like you are working for a small family run business.


What are three words to describe Western?

Welcoming, Family, and Growth. Western is so welcoming to new employees. Once you’re here, Western makes you feel like family. There are so many opportunities for growth within Western and it’s even encouraged by Corporate. All you have to do is apply yourself!


What is your proudest moment at Western?

I would say my proudest moment so far is being selected for this Spotlight. It feels so wonderful to be recognized and praised by my superiors for doing my job. I come to work every day and do the best I can, and it feels wonderful to be appreciated for it.


What has been your favorite project at Western?

My favorite project would be bringing the staff together for Team Building excursions, Birthday/Life Celebrations, Office Lunches, and helping with Client events.


How did you first learn about Western?

I was casually looking for a job change on LinkedIn and this position had just been posted. I applied and the rest is history!


Before working at Western, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?

I haven’t had any unusual jobs, but I think the most interesting to me was when I worked for a Coffee Importer. I learned so much about the process involved with growing, picking, roasting, shipping, and selling coffee beans!


What advice do you have for prospective Western candidates?

Be a Team Player and Open Minded to learning. It really does take a team to ensure the success of a Branch and the Company as a whole. Be open-minded to learn from your Peers. There are quite a few Team Members that have been here for many years. When they offer advice, please listen and take it to heart.


What have you gained from Working at Western?

I have gained a true sense of the meaning of “Team Player”. Western has been the only company I have worked for that truly embodies the term. No matter who you go to for assistance, you will get it. I do not feel alone in my job at all. I have had other jobs that talked about team players and working together, but when I was in need of assistance, I received “That’s not my job” responses. I have never heard that while working at Western.


What is on your wish list for the next 10 years with Western?

My wish is to continually help my branch, as well as the company grow. Western is already well known in the Specialty Construction industry, but I hope to help it become the absolute #1 choice for any Client seeking Specialty Renovations.


If you could switch your job with anyone else within Western, whose job would you want?

I think I would switch with our Controller, Sandrae. I have always loved numbers and Accounting and would love to be in “the thick of it”.


What about you? What do you personally enjoy?

I truly enjoy anything involving food! I love to cook (and eat!). My husband is a former Professional Chef, and we love spending time together with our daughter making delicious meals. I have a meat smoker that runs all Summer long. I love to cook for people and watch them enjoy what I’ve made.

Click here to view all of our Employee Spotlights.