School repairing detention pond

FAIRMONT – Work on the pond near Fairmont Elementary’s parking lot is nearing completion.

Weeks ago, workers began taking it apart to correct errors in the original construction. Those mistakes made what was supposed to be a detention pond work as a retention pond. The difference caused the pond to function poorly.

According to district director of buildings and grounds Dave Ternberg, the pond was supposed to hold runoff from the parking lot for 48 to 72 hours, slowly dispersing it into the drainage tile underneath. Instead, the water was remaining in the pond for months.

Ternberg said the problem was caused by the wrong kind of soil used for a filtering layer above the tile.

“[The soil] was acting like a seal,” he said.

The Joseph Company, the general contractor, has been working to correct the problem by digging out the entire pond to get to the filtering layer. The firm will remove and replace the pipes and tiling as well.

The fix will not cost the district any money. In fact, the district has been withholding final payment on the construction project until the fixes are complete.

“You should be able look into the bottom of the pond and see it is black,” Ternberg said. “It would be spongy to walk on.”

Instead, ducks made their homes on the pond, swimming around contentedly while school personnel worked with the Joseph Company to discover what caused the problem.

“There was a breakdown in communication between the soil-testing company and the sub-contractor,” Ternberg surmised. “Everyone thought the soil would work.”

The fix to the pond was scheduled to be completed by July 1, but the Joseph Company has had trouble getting it done because of the wet weather.

“They are supposed to be done next week, if we don’t get any more rain,” Ternberg noted.

Because of large trucks and construction equipment, the north parking lot has been closed to cars.

With summer school beginning July 8, parents are asked to drop off their students on the west side of the building if construction is still going on.