Roberts School Flats

Core Redevelopment, LLC
Indianapolis, IN

Masonry Wall Consulting

During the development and rehabilitation of the building, water leakage through the walls was observed. With less than six months left in the construction schedule, the urgency to investigate and repair the water leakage was high. Core Redevelopment engaged WJE to investigate the probable causes of water leakage and develop repair recommendations to mitigate the leakage.


Built in 1936, James E. Roberts School #97 was funded with grant money from the post-Depression era Public Works Administration’s New Deal and generous donations from James E. Roberts and his wife Henrietta. Designed by Indianapolis architects McGuire and Shook, James E. Roberts School #97 was the first school to be designed for Indianapolis children with physical handicaps. Once on Indiana Landmark’s 10 Most Endangered Buildings list, this twentieth-century landmark—known today as Roberts School Flats—was renovated and adapted into thirty-three apartments by Core Redevelopment.


To investigate the source of water infiltration, WJE performed site visits to survey the locations of existing water damage on the replaced interior plaster finishes, observe inspection openings in the interior plaster, and observe an inspection opening at one second-floor window lintel on the south facade. Based on WJE’s observations, the majority of water-damaged and stained areas on the interior finishes generally corresponded to severely corroded steel window lintel locations as well as a few isolated areas where severely deteriorated mortar joints existed in the brick masonry.

Based on WJE’s observations, repair concepts were expedited and included replacement of the severely corroded steel lintels with new hot-dipped galvanized window lintels with through wall flashings incorporated into the repairs. In addition, WJE recommended replacing the deteriorated window perimeter sealants to mitigate possible sources of water infiltration at the window perimeters.

In collaboration with a local masonry repair contractor and Core Redevelopment, WJE was able to provide valuable and effective recommendations quickly, ensuring that construction remained on schedule despite the additional repair work.