Sixth Street construction: Accessible curbing, drains to be installed

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A construction project to improve wheelchair access and solve drainage problems is underway on Sixth Street in front of Northwest College.

The $91,000 project is being undertaken by the college and funded by state major maintenance dollars, according to Lisa Watson, NWC vice president for administrative services.

Watson said the city of Powell approved plans for the project, but is not directly involved in the construction.

During engineering, college officials learned of an existing cement tile storm sewer drain on Bernard Street that was no longer being used by the city.

City officials gave permission for the college to tie into that storm drain, provided the college “roto-roots” it out first, she said.

“It puts the pipe back into operation,” she said.

Tying into the storm drain will solve ongoing drainage problems on Sixth Street, most noticeably in the parking turnouts in front of the Orendorff Building, Watson said.

Some NWC trustees expressed frustration in July that the city was not responsible for the curb and drainage work. NWC Board President John Housel of Cody said the city of Cody does curb and gutter work.

But Gary Butts, public works director for the city of Powell, said the project is treated the same as when a builder wants to upgrade their property.

“It’s their property. It’s always been that way,” Butts said.

The construction also involves installing ADA-compliant curbing to allow wheelchair access to sidewalks in the area.

State major maintenance funding was available because the project addresses life, health and safety concerns, Watson said. Smaller projects included in the state funding bundle included additional concrete projects, replacing a fence at the rodeo grounds, and installing the Big Voice emergency alert system in the Fagerberg Building and the Fagerberg Annex (formerly the nursing building), the only two classroom buildings where that system has not yet been installed.

She said the project completes phase 3 of a five-phase plan to repair and replace old or damaged concrete and asphalt on campus.

Dave Plute, plant manager for the college, said phase 1 work in 2013 chip-sealed pavement at the Johnson Fitness Center parking lot, replaced deteriorated stairs at the DeWitt Student Center, added concrete slabs at the Paul Stock Ag Pavillion and replaced numerous concrete sidewalk areas around Lewis and Clark Hall, Cabre Building and the Moyer Building.

Phase 2 work in 2014 replaced the pavement in the parking lot behind the DeWitt Student Center, the Oliver Building and the Cabre Building, and some pavement at Trapper Village West, he said.

Additional concrete work this year included emergency repairs on the Colter Hall stairs, and similar emergency repairs of the stairs at the Frisby Building are planned, Plute said.

Completion on the Sixth Street project is expected by early next month.

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