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By LuAnn Schindler

School retention pond fixes approved


September 24, 2020

Concerns about Summerland School’s detention pond were addressed during the board’s Sept. 14 meeting, in Orchard.

Jacob Sertich, an architect with Wilkins Architecture Design and Planning, in Kearney, reported Olsson engineers were on-site, Aug. 11, to evaluate drainage issues, specifically those caused by a heavy downpour in June.

Prior to the visit, Haussmann Construction pumped standing water from the detention pond. Olsson employees noted the bottom of the pond had approximately a one-inch layer of silt and clay.

John Prouty, of Prouty Construction, from O’Neill, excavated nearly one foot of material in the northeast corner, which was primarily sand.

Clay also appeared in the sediment as the depth of the hole increased, according to a report from Olsson.

Sertich said the district has two options to remedy the situation.

Option one would cut 2,700 cubic yards of dirt, while option two would create a greater volume of stormwater drainage. Dirt work costs range from $20,000 to $32,000.

“Both are viable options,” Sertich said.

Board member Candice Hoke said option two seems “like an extra layer of insurance.”

Additionally, approximately 17 acres will need to be seeded.

According to findings by Olsson, “The revised grading plan will also raise the sanitary percolation field to reduce the occurrent of storm water ponding over the percolation field. The material for this additional embankment can be obtained by excavating an additional nine inches from the bottom of the pond, which will also increase the stormwater storage volume.”

“They’ll give you some increased storage capacity ... if and when there is a significant rain event like there was a couple months ago,” Sertich said.

Representing Hausmann Construction, Steven Thiele said the ideal time for seeding is in the fall.

“That’s the goal, to get something established this fall,” Thiele said.

Seeding the area was always part of the project, Thiele noted.

Approximately 17 acres will be seeded at a cost of 10 cents per square foot, totaling $55,000.

“It was an owner-direct cost to a local landscaper, but in an effort to get it in, instead of next summer or fall, it can be done now,” he said.

As the project nears completion, other landscaping projects will need to be completed, Thiele said, noting the competition and practice football fields were always part of Hausmann’s contract.

Superintendent Dale Martin said if the competition field is seeded and get enough growth, it may be able to be used next fall.

“We’ll see where we’re at,” Martin said.

Board member Jeremy Wagner asked if the efforts will fix the problem.

“We could have water standing there all the time. The way the phones rang last time, is that okay with everybody?” he asked.

Thiele said conversations with the civil engineer have indicated establishing vegetation will allow some percolation and it won’t hold water long-term.

“I think a backup plan is, that if it does, evaporation and percolation don’t keep it empty, a pump could be added at some point to supply irrigation to the 38-acre school site,” Thiele said.

Marty Kerkman asked if the pond will have different landscaping, calling the area “an eyesore.”

Thiele said right now, it’s rough-graded.

“Everything needs to be groomed,” he said.

Wagner continued to express concerns, adding the problem is not fixed yet.

“When problems aren’t fixed, it’s another bill and another bill.”

Wagner asked what the static water level is in the spot.

According to Thiele, before the project started, bore levels on the property were taken 20 to 25 feet deep.

“Unfortunately, there wasn’t a boring collected in that corner eight months ago, so we didn’t know until now we had clay-type soil that wasn’t going to drain. The fact is, there isn’t stormwater infrastructure that exists in Antelope County at that location. In most cities, we’d tie into the city’s storm sewer and we’d be done. Here, that doesn’t exist,” Thiele said.

Kerkman said he agrees with Wagner, but grass needs to be planted now.

“In 30 to 45 days, winter is coming. The longer we wait, the more chance we have of water buildup,” he said.

Following discussion, the board approved option one, removing 2,700 cubic yards of dirt, and accepting the lowest bid for seeding.

Editor’s note: In last week’s edition, in an article about the topping ceremony, we reported that building completion will be in August 2021.

Construction will be finished in December 2021.


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