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New Public Works building hopes to be complete Dec. 1

By Staff | Oct 30, 2018

After waiting for around 10 years, the city of Blue Earth is going to finally have a new Public Works Department building.

“We are getting close to completion of the new building,” says city administrator Tim Ibisch. “The structure is up and the roof was being put on this week, as well as pouring concrete.”

After the large new overhead doors are installed, the building will be nearing completion and the move from the current site to this new one will begin.

Ibisch says the plan is to be fully operational by Dec. 1. He points out the snow season will be coming soon and the Public Works Department workers are ready to get all the snow removal equipment ready to go.

The $1 million new structure is being constructed on the site of what once was the City of Blue Earth Municipal Liquor Store. And, even before that, it was the site of the Detke John Deere Dealership.

“When the city built the new liquor store on Highway 169 closer to the interstate, the Public Works Department took over the concrete block building,” Ibisch says. “But it did not work well for that.”

The old liquor store building was demolished earlier this year. It was not the main building for the city and was basically just used for storage.

The PWD’s main building is just south of the old liquor store. It has been the main city PWD building for nearly 40 years.

“OSHA found some issues with the building in 2007,” Ibisch says. “And the city has been trying to find a solution to the problems ever since.”

The City Council has looked at several options over the years, including buying an existing building or expanding on the current buildings.

However, last year the decision was finally made to proceed with the construction of this new structure.

“We had Brunton Architects of Mankato do the design work. They are also did the work for the new Chamber of Commerce building,” Ibisch says. “And we had Ankeny Builders get the bid on the building, and we were happy to see that happen.”

Ibisch said the new building will be state-of-the-art when it is finished, in many different ways. One is that it will be a SIPS building, using a modern type of insulation in order to be energy efficient.

“Despite the fact it is twice as large as the current building, it will be significantly less expensive to both heat and cool,” Ibisch explains. “The current building will be basically used for cold storage.”

Ibisch also says many of the city of Blue Earth’s projects for 2018 are either being wrapped up soon or are completed.

The new wastewater treatment plant improvements, a two-year project, has been completed. There are still plans to do paving work on the new housing development, as well as completion of work on the 13th and Moore streets reconstruction work, yet this fall.

And, the new Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center/Giant Museum building is getting very close to being done, Ibisch adds.

“Next year we have plans to begin the Sailor Street reconstruction project and continue with the housing development work,” Ibisch said.