Commission moves forward with plans to construct new highway department facility

Posted December 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm

by Julie Ann Madden

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Union County officials get a glimpse of the county’s newest technology being used. Using the Cloud web-based system with the Pictometry software on Oct. 2, county officials were able to use an aerial view from the county’s 2010 Pictometry photographs to see a site layout of proposed “Highway Department” building along County Road 1B across the road from the Mantex Load King manufacturing facility in Elk Point, S.D. Construction is tentatively set for Spring 2013.

On Nov. 13, the Union County Commissioners took their first major step in the construction of a new county highway building to replace the “quonset” structure at Elk Point, S.D.

The county’s quonset building, located at 505 E. Pleasant St. in Elk Point, is behind the Union County Highway Office. It is used to store the Union County Highway Department equipment.

The new highway facility will be on the county’s 8.2 acres east of Manitex Load King offices and northeast of that company’s production facility. The new county building will set west of the railroad tracks.

Commissioner Ross Jordan made a motion to enter into a contract with G.A. Johnson Construction Inc. of Sioux Falls, S.D., and HMN Architects Inc. of Des Moines to get a Master Plan design for the county’s property on County Road IB, also known as Rose Street. It was seconded by Commissioner Marvin Schempp to approve the HMN architects Master Plan at a cost of $8,000 plus reimbursable expenses at South Dakota State Rates. The vote was unanimous.

On Oct. 2, Public Works Administrator Raymond Roggow presented his “hand-drawn” idea for a 100’ x 250’ building.

The Commissioners were able to see how Roggow suggested the building be located on the Rose Street lot via the county’s Pictometry/Cloud software. Roggow was assisted by Union County Treasurer Myron Hertel who manages the courthouse’s computer systems.

According to Roggow, the building will have several bays for storing and working on county highway equipment; a storage room for the Union County Sheriff’s Office; an Emergency Management Office with conference room/safe shelter; and a Public Works Office.

Since there is only $450,000 set aside for this facility, Roggow suggested doing the project in phases.

“Phase I will take all of the 2013 budget,” said Roggow.

Phase I would include construction of six bays on the southeast half of the building. In the southeast corner would also be the sheriff’s room and Public Works’ storage area/mechanical room for the facility.

Next to these two rooms would be the first bay. Each bay will be 22 feet wide and have an 18 feet door on one side. The bays will be a minimum of 20 feet in height and 100 feet long.

This first bay will house two of the county’s trucks. When equipped with plows and sanders, the trucks are approximately 40 feet long so there will be plenty of room for employees to walk around these trucks.

There will also be a concrete common wall across the facility for second bay, which will house the Wash Bay and have multiple uses such as for storing the semi tractor-trailer units and housing the Paint Bay. Roggow noted that right now, painting is done in the quonset building.

Phase II would include adding the next three bays, which would be a Welding Bay and two Work Bays. In back of the Work Bays, there would be a minimum of 20 feet along the south wall for supplies such as road signs, tires, blades and pumps.

“We will have the height capacity so we should be able to double the storage capacity with an upper level,” said Roggow, adding there would also be an Emergency Management stall added to house the county’s 60 kW generator set, mobile command unit and storage trailer.

Roggow noted these items are now stored in the county’s Spink facility. Once this new facility is constructed, the Spink facility would no longer be needed and could be sold.

Neither Phase I nor II has a place for Weed Board equipment. He told the commissioners they could use the Wash Bay but their chemicals could not be housed in this facility. In Phase II, he suggested constructing a separate building along the north fence of this property for Weed Board storage.

Phase III would be for the addition of lower level Public Works administrator’s and staff office with a safe haven/conference room and an upper level Weed Board Office.

These would not be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, said Roggow, because there would be only stairs to the upper level offices.

Commissioner Ross Jordan suggested having the Emergency Management Office in the safe haven area and that a separate employee break room be added.

Roggow suggested placing the building at the front of the property with a nice green space. This placement will hide unsightly equipment and such, he said, adding he would love to have a “drive-thru” facility but having doors on both sides of the building was financially “unbearable.”

Phase IV would include moving all of the county’s items, now located west of the Load King building, on to this new site. Then the current lot could be sold, he said.

Roggow noted this new property would need a retention pond for water drainage. He suggested having a 3 feet deep ditch along the property’s north fence. If geothermal heating is selected, the wells could be in this area, too.

The consensus was to have Roggow get soil core samples and invite Johnson and Davis to the next meeting, which was Oct. 16.

“This is just a wish list,” said Commission Chairman Doyle Karpen, noting money will determine what actually happens with this project. “This will be built to last the next 50 years.”

The quonset costs the county $2,000 – $2,500 a month for heat, added Karpen, suggesting prices for geothermal be gotten.

Commissioners Marvin Schempp, Dale Neely and Roggow have been meeting with Jerry Johnson of G.A. Johnson Construction Inc. of Sioux Falls, S.D., and Steve Davis, HMN Architects Inc. of Des Moines

On Oct. 16, Johnson and Davis spoke at the commission meeting about this project.

Davis informed the commissioners a complete facility, which is similar to the Clay County Highway Department facility, would cost about $1.8 million to $2 million. He suggested financial options be included in a Master Plan created for the whole 8.2 acres.

Davis recommended the commissioners tour the state’s Department of Transportation facility in Sioux Falls, S.D., for ideas and discuss a variety of materials used for constructing such a facility. He suggested they design Phase I at an hourly basis rate and strongly urged them to do a Master Plan.

Jordan agreed with doing a Master Plan but Karpen wanted to know the cost of hiring this team.

Davis said their cost would be approximately $100,000 on a $1.8 million to $2 million project. He explained there were several financial options the county could choose, including bonding or a combination of revenue bonds and a lease-purchase portion where the county would buy the building for $1 in 15 or 20 years. He suggested they’d do the Master Plan for a $10,000 – $12,000 fee range instead of at an hourly rate.

“I won’t do a bond issuance,” said Karpen, noting there could be a revenue stream for the county with the rail spur on this property. “The purpose of this project is to get rid of the quonset.”

“I’d like to see us slow down,” said Jordan. “There’s a whole bunch of property out there that I think we’ve only looked at in a limited capacity. A lot of potential. I think we need more input, more dialogue on the potentials.”

Jordan requested Davis and Johnson submit a written Master Plan Concept bid proposal.

Karpen requested a project time line.

“Most important is we need to get the trucks inside for Winter time,” said Roggow.

Davis and Johnson submitted a written proposal at the Oct. 30 meeting but commissioners wanted a few changes. So, the Master Plan contract was finally approved with the contract changes at the Nov. 13 meeting.

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