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Colfax approves “structural observation” of municipal building basement

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  The Colfax Village Board has approved hiring the engineering firm of Ericksen Roed & Associates out of St. Paul to do a structural observation of the Colfax Municipal Building basement.

The village board approved hiring ERA at the August 10 board meeting for $750 plus reimbursed expenses to generate a report on observations of the building pertaining to water infiltration problems.

Recent heavy rains have left puddles of water standing on the basement floor, and members of the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group spoke to the village board about the standing water at the July 27 meeting.

At the July meeting, village board members decided it would be prudent to have a structural engineer assess the basement.

The engineering firm of Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH), which has done a variety of work for the village in the past, recommended Ericksen Roed & Associates, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer.

The structural engineer planned to do a site visit Wednesday (August 12), she said.

The report generated will make recommendations and will include observations based on appearance, Niggemann said.

The report will not determine whether the building is structurally sound, because to determine whether it is structurally sound would require boring into the basement walls, which would cause more damage than it would help, she said, noting that Rand Bates, director of public works, also would be present during the site visit.

“This will set it up for some action … we will have some professional expertise to advise us,” said Scott Gunnufson, village president.

The report will outline steps of what to do next to address the water infiltration problems, Niggemann said.

“This is one step of a multi-step process,” she said.

The Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group had obtained several quotes last year for addressing the water infiltration problems. The quotes centered on the work of sealing the foundation with a membrane at a cost of about $20,000.

After each rainstorm, water has been standing by the back bathrooms in the basement, and it seems possible that water is leaking through the back wall, Niggemann said.

Mark Halpin, village trustee, wondered if anyone had made it a point to observe water cascading off the roof of the building during a rain storm.

Niggemann, who will mark her one-year anniversary as administrator-clerk-treasurer in November, noted that other people have told her water in the basement has been a problem in the past and that the village had tried to do some grading around the building to direct water to drain away.

After ERA has submitted the report and the village board has had an opportunity to review it, then the village can proceed to the next step, Gunnufson said.

The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved the contract with ERA for $750 plus expenses.

Village Trustee Susan Olson was absent from the meeting.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Village Board:

• Approved a training request for Lance Lofthus for an EMT basic class for the fall of 2015 at a cost of $896.35.

• Approved a training request for Don Knutson, director of the Colfax Rescue Squad, to attend the Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin (PSOW) annual workshop and the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin (PAAW) annual meeting September 23 through September 25 in Green Bay at a cost of $408.

• Approved multiple required continuing education EMT IV-tech refresher courses for this fall at a cost of $1,794.24. The EMTs who will be participating are Tim Swenson; Travis Borreson; Jessica Erickson; Richard Henrichs; Scott Johnson; Don Knutson; Roger Knutson; Mark Levra; Nick Mann; Jim Osterman; Dawn Roberts; Tammy Sauer.

• Approved a bartender operator’s license for Jennifer Penny from August 10, 2015, to June 30, 2016.

• Approved a temporary “Class B”/Class “B” retailer’s license for the Colfax Firefighters’ Ball September 12 to 13.

• Approved a street use/privilege permit for the Colfax Commercial Club for the Colfax Founder’s Day Main Street Block Party August 15 to 16.

• Approved a motion to not participate in the Dunn County Humane Society’s municipality contract for 2015-2016. The first year for 2015 would have been $1.52 per capita. The second year, 2016, would have been $1.63 per capita. The humane society had sent the contract to former village administrator Jackie Ponto last October. Ponto resigned from her position with the village in October.