Construction hits sewer snag |

Construction hits sewer snag

Workers find Perry-Mansfield pipe on school district property

Mike McCollum
Workers at the site of the Strawberry Park Elementary School expansion hit a snag when they found a sewer line owned by the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp.
Brian Ray

— Steamboat Springs School District officials are hustling to get the expansion of Strawberry Park Elementary School back on schedule, but workers recently hit a snag with the discovery of an 8-inch sewer line – owned by the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp – in the construction area.

Todd Ficken, project manager for the school district’s major construction projects, said moving the sewer line is a simple procedure. Resolving ownership issues is not.

Ficken told the Steamboat Springs School Board Monday night that he has been unable to find a signed easement contract between the school district and the performing arts camp.

“There is an easement agreement. It’s all typed up and laid out, but it was never executed or recorded,” he said.

The lack of a signature means there is no predetermined agreement on how to proceed with moving the sewer line.

“That’s what I’m asking the School Board’s direction on, how to precede with that,” he said. “We have a solution, we know what we need to do and it’s a question of how the Steamboat Springs School Board wants us to proceed on this matter.”

The sewer line has a short history.

In 1999, the Perry-Mansfield facility was relying on an outdated septic system to deal with sewage. Perry-Mansfield officials asked to tap into the city’s sewer system through a line that Perry-Mansfield would build. Two years later, the line was built, but it had to cross property owned by Steamboat’s school district.

That portion of property is now needed for the expansion of Strawberry Park.

“The line impinges upon the northwest corner of the (Strawberry Park) addition,” Ficken said. “When they first laid (the pipe) out, I’m sure they thought that they were laying it out a really good distance from the school. They didn’t have any notion that the school would later expand.”

Ficken said he expects the school district’s interim superintendent, Sandra Smyser, to direct him sometime this week on how to move forward. The primary question is whether Perry-Mansfield or the school district pays for the project.

“This isn’t a big problem or even uncommon to do this,” he said. “It’s not a long section of line. We just have to deflect pipe around a corner and move it about 10 or 12 feet from the school.”

Ficken didn’t have a cost estimate available Tuesday, but he said the project wouldn’t be substantial and he would discuss the matter with Perry-Mansfield officials this week.

Perry-Mansfield Board President Karolynn Lestrude said she is aware of the sewer pipe, but she was unsure who is responsible for its relocation.

“Not having received any kind of information from the school district or the construction company, I have no way of commenting on any of it,” she said.

Lestrude noted that the sewer line does not include city water, because the camp is supplied by well water.

Ficken said the school, which currently boards renters in cabins in addition to some year-round maintenance staff, is in no danger of losing sewer access.

“They probably won’t know or sense or have any idea that the line will be moved,” he said. “We are not removing the line in the way : once the new line goes in, then the old line will be turned off – just like turning a switch off.”

– To reach Mike McCollum, call 871-4208

or e-mail

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