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MSD accepts wastewater treatment bid

by ANDREW CHRISTMAN - achristman@wabashplaindealer.com

The MSD of Wabash County Board of Education on Tuesday approved a bid for the Southwood High School wastewater treatment plant project.

The board awarded the project to Fort Wayne-area firm Cornerstone Stewards, Inc., for nearly $978,000. That’s about $95,000 less than the original bid, which included a larger scope than what the board plans to pursue at this time.

The first aspect eliminated from the current project is demolition of the wastewater treatment location at Southwood Elementary. Keith Bryant of United Consulting told the board it could save $25,000 by leaving the treatment center where it is, but they will need to demolish and fill it in at their own pace, possibly with a local contractor.

The board also decided to leave the sewer line that currently runs under the baseball park, which was originally slated to be removed. By postponing this portion of the project, Bryant estimates the board will save $36,000 in the near-term.

The final aspect eliminated is the replacement of a pole building over the high school treatment plant, which Bryant says could save another $34,000. But a new structure will need to be in place by the end of 2019 to prevent tanks from freezing.

“It’s a savings for now, and you’ll probably wind up spending some of that down the road,” Bryant told the board on Tuesday. While the board is saving $95,000 by dropping these three components, Bryant estimated the real savings at $50,000 because the board will need to pursue some of these aspects at a later date.

Assistant Superintendent of Finance Chris Kuhn said the board will be able to pay for the project with a capital projects bond taken in 2016. But he noted there won’t be much left in the budget for other projects through the end of 2019.

“Some other things may have to be halted, like doing LED lights at Northfield,” he said.

Work on the treatment center is anticipated to begin in early October and be completed by summer 2019. The project will consist of closing the treatment center at Southwood Elementary School and redirecting wastewater to Southwood Jr.-Sr. High School’s treatment plant, which is being redone to accommodate the influx.

The board accepted the bid with a 4-0 vote. Board member Gary Fadil was absent from the meeting.