Baxter City Council: Streets project on docket for new Baxter Elementary
BAXTER--The new Baxter Elementary School is popping up in discussions again--this time in a project to remake streets and infrastructure adjoining the planned construction site just east of Forestview Middle School on Knollwood Drive.
BAXTER-The new Baxter Elementary School is popping up in discussions again-this time in a project to remake streets and infrastructure adjoining the planned construction site just east of Forestview Middle School on Knollwood Drive.
During a workshop Tuesday, Feb. 19, council members mulled an arrangement to pass control of the 2019 Jasperwood Drive and Mapleton Road improvements project from the Brainerd School District to the city of Baxter. These improvements are intended to accommodate drop-off traffic in the mornings and afternoons, as well as subterranean infrastructure needed for the new school.
During the meeting later that evening, the council ultimately voted to approve the agreement with the Brainerd School District and architectural-engineering firm Widseth Smith Nolting for professional engineering and surveying purposes. It's stipulated the contract is contingent on the district submitting an escrow for the full amount to the city of Baxter, and the project should not exceed $169,540.
Proponents noted by taking the project in its early stages of conceptual design, the city can oversee and provide its expertise to an initiative that has implications for Baxter families and neighboring communities.
"We've been having a lot of discussions, a lot of talks with the school district," said Trevor Walter, public works director. "What's coming is that the school district would like the city of Baxter to take over all public improvements. They'd like the city to take it over and they're leaning on a pay-as-you-go project."
The project would include Jasperwood Drive-streets, water, sewer, stormwater, trails, lights-or, essentially, public infrastructure on Jasperwood Drive. For Mapleton Road, Walter said the project would cover the mini-roundabouts and upgrades to road trail there.
He added a length of pedestrian trail along Knollwood Drive, ending at the south end of Forestview Middle School. Fire hydrants and valves around the site would also see some attention from the project.
Walter noted there's always the option to do the projects via assessments, but observed it's probably more cost-effective and realistic to go with the pay-as-you-go route-or, paying out funds currently available without taking on more bond debt. Architectural-engineering firms Widseth Smith Nolting and ICS Consulting are already contracted with the district. This contract, Walter said, would be passed on to the city of Baxter. He added council member Todd Holman-who was absent Tuesday night-conveyed concerns about taking the project on in progress. While the district has evaluated the contract, the city of Baxter would take on the project without their own vetting process they usually perform in these circumstances.
Walter also noted it's been raised as a potential conflict of interest-to go into a partnership with the Brainerd School District, Widseth Smith Nolting and their project-but he noted it's not a business transaction between a public entity and a private for-profit company. The school district is a public institution with a mandated objective to serve the area's children, he said.
With that in mind, Walter and City Administrator Brad Chapulis iterated, in their opinions, the better option for the city of Baxter to take the helm of the project and keep operations under one guiding banner, instead of doling out responsibilities to multiple municipalities and multiple design agencies-which, in the case of ICS Consulting, lacks expertise to deal with subterranean infrastructure.
"The reward," said Chapulis, who noted he's reviewed the contract and found it satisfactory, "is that we would have the oversight we otherwise wouldn't."
Council member Zach Tabatt asked Walter if he agreed with that assessment.
Said Walter, "Correct."
In other business, the council:
Approved a change order to Landwehr Construction Inc. for the 2018 Cypress Drive improvements project to the amount of $23,945.20.
Approved a partial pay estimate to Landwehr Construction Inc. for the 2018 Cypress Drive improvements project to the amount of $83,867.93.
Approved a BNSF invoice to the amount of $104,015.95 for work related to the new Cypress Drive railroad crossing.
Approved the cost-share agreement for the 2019 Crow Wing County Highway Department for the 2019 city of Baxter street striping project in the amount of $40,706.60.
Approved a Bolton & Menk proposal for engineering services for evaluating 2019 street condition ratings, not to exceed $5,952.
Accepted a 20-year maintenance plan update (2019-39) for sanitary sewer and stormwater lift stations.
Approved a Widseth Smith Nolting proposal for environmental services for the Midwest machinery conditional use permit assistance, not to exceed $667.50 contingent on a conditional use permit application.
Approved a WSN proposal for environmental services for the Brainerd School District elementary school conditional use permit assistance, not to exceed $3,300.
Approved a WSN proposal for engineering services for the water treatment plant backwash sludge drying pan, not to exceed $7,500.
Approved a WSN agreement for engineering services for the maintenance facility mezzanine, not to exceed $8,000.
Approved a WSN agreement for engineering services for lift station No. 11 reconstruction in a lump sum of $10,080.
Adopted resolutions approving advertising bids for the 2019 Mill and Overlay reclamation improvements project, which also includes the 2019 Memorywood Drive improvements project and the 2018 chip seal repairs improvements project under it.
Accepted a 2018 sanitary sewer smoke testing report and directed staff to repair and clean out sewer manhole castings in the summer of 2019.
Authorized Mayor Darrel Olson and staff to execute the 2019 Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corp. contract for economic development services in the amount of $31,000.