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Blue Earth studies possible shop replacement

By Staff | Apr 22, 2012

At last Monday’s regular meeting, the Blue Earth City Council voted to progress with several big ticket projects.

There was one more project that wasn’t on the main meeting’s agenda, but which the council took a close look at during their work session.

That item? A possible new shop building.

In fact, the council took a tour of the current shop as their only work session agenda item.

City Public Works Supervisor Jamison Holland conducted the tour, which included many details on the structure.

Built in 1976 at a cost of $84,333, the shop has outlasted its usefulness, Holland says.

Among the deficiencies are:

mold in the walls and roof, which has had to be repaired three times;

fire hazard from the particle board walls and the storage of flammables inside;

inadequate ventilation, electrical system, lighting and space;

welding and powerwashing stalls side by side;

not enough working space, or clearance for large equipment.

Holland says he estimates a new building would cost approximately $400,000, plus $30,000 to $40,000 for changes inside.

“We could build it right where this one is,” he says. “Or it could be built by the wastewater treatment plant.”

The city already has three other buildings on the current Sailor Street site, including the new salt storage shed, and Holland says he feels a new shop building should be there as well.

“We will need to do something in the near future,” he says. “This current shop is inadequate, undersized and has a lot of issues such as mold and being a fire hazard.”

Holland says a fire inspector estimated that if a fire started in the shop, the building could be fully engulfed within four minutes.

He adds that 95 percent of the street department shop work is done in this building, as well as power washing of equipment, such as after snow removal or sanding is done in the winter.

“We also store some of our key equipment for snow removal and other work in here,” Holland explained to the council members. “Our big John Deere loader, new snowblower and loader plow, as well as at least one grader, the sewer jetting trailer and equipment can all be in here at once. It gets pretty crowded at times.”