School superintendent Patricia Ruane and several members of the school committee attended the
    meeting of the Hopedale Board of Selectmen on April 17, 2007 to discuss the problem of the leak in
    the cupola at the high school. The problem is a complex one with no easy solution. What I have here is
    a very brief summary of a fairly lengthy discussion.

    The cupola is made of copper with soldered joints, and most or all of the joints are leaking. It is above
    the elevator shaft, which is required to have a vent. It is possible that the elevator could be vented in
    another location, but that wouldn't necessarily be an inexpensive solution.  Four courses of action, with
    a number of variations, are being considered. They are:

    Reconstruct the present cupola, at an estimated cost of about $450,000.

    Replace the present cupola with a very small copper cupola at an estimated cost between $54,000
    and $70,000.

    Remove the cupola - don't replace it.. A vent would still be needed. Estimated cost - $120,000 to

    Remove the existing cupola and replace it with a fiberglass one of similar color and size. Cost -
    $120,000 to $160,000.

    The numbers above are the estimates of the company that has been studying the situation. Whatever
    course of action is decided upon, the job will have to be advertised for bids.

    Below you'll see pictures from August 2007.


The two pictures below were taken in October 2007.

    On December 30, 2018, Pat DiPietropolo‎ posted the following on the Hopedale Bulletin
    Board page on Facebook. The picture she included with her comment is similar to the
    ones on this page that show the cupola at the wastewater treatment plant.

    Was walking back near the recycling center today. Anyone know why this old
    cupola is in the sewer plant area? Shouldn’t it be preserved somewhere?

    The questions were soon followed by many comments and suggestion. Here's a link so
    you can see all of them, but of course on Facebook things like this move down, down,
    down the page, so I'm going to put several of them here. All are from Mike Ragonese.

    Looking at these pictures it seems like they just did a horizontal cut around the perimeter
    so how was it sitting on the peak or pitch of the roof. Imagine the complication in building a
    base on the peak of a roof that will fit and hold up this beast. That’s one issue. The interior
    wood frame is old and discolored but actually not rotted (yet)

    There are only small issues with the joints in the copper and probably from moving it.

    My understanding is that the school was re-roofed when the cupola was in place. On a
    new house, it gets the shingles and step flashing and then the siding goes over the leg of
    the flashing that goes up the wall. The whole flashing thing is more complicated on a re-
    roof because it’s up under the siding so the new roof has to be woven into the flashing
    that is already in place. So imagine how that might have worked with this copper clad
    beast. As often happens, the roofing was (possibly)not married to the old flashing very well
    and that is probably why it leaked badly. It wasn’t the copper that would have caused any
    bad leaks on this cupola. The copper on something like this can be patched/repaired
    either by soldering the joint or if necessary, overlaying a patch of copper and soldering
    that patch on. When they re-roofed, they should have folded new flashing from copper
    and soldered each individual pc. onto the cupola as they proceeded up the roof. This
    would not have been something an average asphalt shingle roofer would be familiar with. It’
    s quite possible they just tried to make it work with the original flashing and that’s why it
    leaked. Just theory and we’ll never know and it’s water over the dam anyway. The sad,
    aggravating thing to me is that there doesn’t seem to have been anything major wrong
    with the copper which would mean that the wood substructure was probably in pretty good
    shape. When I felt the wood substructure in various places, I did not find any soft/rotted
    wood. That being said, this thing is OLD. the wood substructure saw many years of
    intense heat, cold, moisture, etc. under a metal skin up on a roof in the blazing heat of
    many Summers. That’s why it LOOKS really bad... but if it was kept dry by the copper skin,
    just like siding does on the wood frame of a house, the frame will do it’s job for a long long
    time. So repairable? Yes. But a complicated process for sure and complicated = $$$$. Half
    a million? NO WAY! But (and believe me, this is just a guess) probably at least a couple
    hundred thousand. It would quite possibly be impossible to find someone to take on a task
    of this nature. That’s why the price gets so high. It’s complicated. I’m not optimistic.
    Prominently displayed somewhere on the grounds of Hopedale may be the answer instead
    of just letting it turn into scrap copper.

    it’s supported off the ground by a “just good enough” set of frames that will only last so
    long. More damage may be done uprighting it and then laying it back down to move it. Just
    putting a good quality cover over it as it sits would go a long way to preserve it. Most
    “tarps” don’t last too long exposed to the sun. I’m pretty sure there are people who shrink
    wrap boats on site. That stuff lasts a while.


Thanks to artist Karen Pendleton for this drawing.