By Frank Stanko
The season of spring brings growth, birth and renewal. Starting in 2016, it will also bring more than $13 million in changes to the infrastructure of the North Dakota State College of Science, affecting not only the school’s plumbing and aesthetics, but the city of Wahpeton and its surrounding region.
“They’re viewing our campus like a small town,” said Dallas Fossum, NDSCS’ executive director of facilities management, of Bolton & Menk, the project’s engineering firm. Currently, surveying and identification of existing pipes, phone lines and more is going on. Future plans include use of video cameras sent through pipes to identify their conditions and routing.
All identified structures are being added as GPS-located points on a digital map, providing an accuracy of location within four inches. “[We’ll be able to know] where they’re at, as well as how deep they are. We can attach photos and other specification information right to that GPS location,” Fossum said.
NDSCS will work with the city of Wahpeton to keep the public aware of construction sites, road closures, and traffic patterns through the Internet, public service announcements, news articles and door-to-door notification of potentially affected residents.
“We [do] want to get the word out. A lot of people have been asking about this at various clubs in town, they bring this up and they’ve heard about this allocation of funds, so there is curiosity,” said Barbara Spaeth-Baum, executive director of college relations and marketing.
Fossum said the city will be “an integral partner” in the project.
Among the community locations affected is the Blikre Activities Center, where infrastructure under the site’s parking lots will be replaced and the parking lots themselves will be reconstructed. Work on the the Activities Center is just one component of the infrastructure project’s scale.
“It will be nearly a mile worth of sanitary sewer lines that will be replaced,” Fossum said.
Dennis Gladen, vice president of administrative affairs, had praise for the North Dakota Legislative Assembly, who allocated the funds, allowing the infrastructure project to be the third highest capital project approved during its last biennium.
“It was a win for us, a win for the state, a win for the community,” he said.
Construction is expected to begin immediately in the spring.