Alex Schlee | Staff Writer | 11-2-2011
A long string of orange construction cones lines the street that runs alongside the baseball field at the edge of Bemidji State’s campus. A fresh layer of sod that looks like bits of green carpet pieced together over the dirt has just been laid down. Until recently, construction and excavation equipment could have been seen being put to work at the site. The work being done around the baseball field is almost completed, but what exactly was being done there?
A sanitary sewer is being installed under the baseball field. The new sewer connects a small building stationed next to the field to the main Bemidji city sewer system. The facility in question, a small octagonal brick building containing two bathrooms, until recently, stood independent of Bemidji’s main city sewer system. The bathroom’s plumbing employed two 1500-gallon holding tanks, which needed to be pumped out regularly. The septic tanks under the small facility were removed recently and then replaced with a sewage line that connects with the city’s main system.
“This way, the water can be treated by the city,” said Jeff Sande, BSU’s Physical Plant Director, who was in charge of the operation to connect the baseball field’s facilities to the city’s water treatment network.
The tanks were taken out by Beer Incorporated, a contractor hired by BSU to excavate the old tanks and then later do the dirt work and lay sod after the new sewage system was installed. Wes’s Plumbing and Heating Incorporated was also employed by the school as a general contractor working with the pipeline.
According to Sande, the work being done on the new sewer line cost roughly 124,000 dollars. The money put towards the project was drawn from BSU’s repair and betterment, or “R&B” funds. Money was also contributed to the undertaking by the state’s Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) funding.
In total, the construction lasted for 4 weeks from start to finish. By now, it’s nearly finished. Sande said, “It should be completed this week.”
Beer Incorporated is currently finishing up laying the sod over the newly installed sewer. All that is left to do is re-install a portion of fencing removed during the excavation; a task that will be assigned to Skime Fencing, another contractor hired by the school. The finalization of the job isn’t expected to last any longer than November 15th.