County news

Construction preparation for the new Dickinson County jail is going slowly, but work is progressing, County Administrator Brad Homman told commissioners Thursday.

For example, several flags now mark the northwest corner where the new sally port will be located. The sally port is a secure, controlled, garage entry with doors on both sides that officers can drive into to drop off and pick up inmates.

Also, the ground around the courthouse building has been staked off for utilities and trenching should begin soon.

Station 2 EMS

Work was scheduled to be completed Friday on the Herington EMS building, which had developed issues due to settling.

EMS was expected to move back into the facility Monday.

Thrasher Commercial in Wichita began repair work earlier this month. While they initially planned to lift the building, that plan didn’t work.

“They ran into issues lifting the building,” Homman told commissioners during their Aug. 15 meeting. “The vacuum caused by the clay and the wet conditions underneath the building wouldn’t allow it to come up. That’s the bad news.

“The good news is they can secure it where it’s at. Piers have been put into place that will prevent it from going down any more,” Homman added. “The good part is it will be less expensive than what they quoted us. The other good part is they’ll still give us a 25-year warranty on it.”

When workers prepare to lift a building, they typically use 4,000-pounds of pressure to lift the piers. This was done but the building didn’t budge. Workers then went to 8,000-pounds and left it overnight, but still nothing happened.

“If they go over 8,000, they start blowing hoses at 9 to 10,000,” Homman said. “They weren’t going to go any higher than that. They know it’s stuck, but it’s not going to move. But it’s also a guarantee that it’s not going to sink any more.”

Although workers weren’t unable to lift the building as planned, they injected material under the concrete that brought the floors back up to the proper location.

The commission in July approved spending $65,000 to repair the building. Settling had caused numerous issues at the building for years, including doors not shutting right and a leaky roof.

Also, the pad in front of the garage had sunk, allowing water to drain back toward the building which ended up underneath it.

Homman said painters and plumbers had been in — a sink had to be removed in order to complete the repair — and new carpeting was expected to be installed by the weekend.

Other

In other matters, Homman told commissioners:

• He attended a Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) meeting scheduled to hear from local leaders about the future of transportation in Kansas. Discussion included “looking into the future” to the year 2045.

The biggest piece of information was that Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly plans to stop — in the next 12 to 24 months — taking money from KDOT to use on other projects.

In recent years, money has been taken routinely from the state’s highway and bridge program to cover other budget shortfalls.

• The county-owned dump truck that was damaged during an accident at the APAC Shears asphalt batch plant is in the final stages of repair. Mechanics were working on installing the snowplow mount and were preparing to put the hood back on earlier last week.

The accident occurred earlier this summer when an APAC employee backed a loader at a high rate of speed into the front of the dump truck while it was being loaded with asphalt. The impact damaged the engine and the special equipment — hydraulics and electronics — used to operate the snowplow and salt spreader.

APAC Shears paid for the repairs.

• The road and bridge department is about to complete its summer paving project.

“It can’t come too soon. Standing on a machine for eight hours in 110 or 115 degree heat index with 350 degree asphalt under your feet — well that’s a crappy day — and our guys have been doing it for about three weeks,” Homman said. “They have been doing a good job and they’re ready to be done.”

Aug. 15 meeting

During the previous weeks’ meeting, the commission:

• Noted that fund expenditures of $497,624.50 were higher than typical due to the county’s annual road asphalt project.

“This is the time of year where we’re doing asphalt work,” Homman said. “This particular week we had a substantial amount of those bills come in from APAC Shears, to the tune of almost $2 million. It’s not normally that high.”

• Approved an acceptance agreement with the Dickinson County Historical Society.

“They have not had a good documentation when they accept records or archives or artifacts. In the past year, we’ve given them quite a number of documents that are no longer needed here, but we wanted to keep them because of their historical significance,” Homman said.

• Heard from Homman the county will close 2650 Avenue east of Casey’s in Chapman during the Chapman Labor Day Celebration fireworks. The company putting on the show is concerned something could be damaged if it was hit by firework debris falling in the area.

• Heard from Homman that he had received a response from U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall’s office in regard to the commission’s letter seeking help for farmers who suffered flood damage in May.

The representative of Kansas’s 1st District sent information regarding low interest disaster loans that are available to people, which was “about all they were aware of that was available to farmers in our area,” Homman said.

Also a temporary office opened in Hillsboro in Marion County for those loans, he said.

Contact Kathy Hageman at reporter@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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