City and county officials in Pratt met last week to mull over details and expenses associated with building a new emergency medical response facility north of city limits.
More details on buildings and utility usage are needed before development can begin on the new county-owned 88 acres on the north side of U.S. 54 between NE 20th Avenue and the 54 Pickup business and stretching north to the solar farm on the east side of Pratt Community College.
During a joint city and county commission meeting on March 18, Wayne Scritchfield, vice president of Kirkham Michael Civil Engineering, presented information and answered questions about what has to happen to get all the necessary utilities in place on the site.
The current plan is to move the county fire and rescue station, EMS and emergency management to new facilities on the north end of the property. The center portion of the property would be used for light industrial development while the area adjacent to U.S. 54 would for restaurant development, Scritchfield said.
At this time, there are no developed plans for buildings and utility usage, including electrical, and that is vital to move ahead with development.
“When we known what facilities look like, we’ll know what power we need,” Scritchfield said.
A critical issue for development is the sewer system. The capacity of the sewage system depends on the amount of development, usage demands and when development takes place.
There are two options for a sewer system. A lift station or a gravity feed system are options. Right now, the lift station is probably the best option both for time and finances.
A small lift station would be able to handle the sewage issues for the immediate needs of the new county buildings, said Russ Rambat, city public works director, who said that appears the way the county is leaning.
A small lift station could be installed at first then could be upgraded later if necessary, Scritchfield said.
More development means more demands on the sewage system.
If more development occurs as anticipated, it might require an upgrade on a lift system or it might be necessary to install a gravity system and that would be very expensive. It would probably have to connect to an existing line south of U.S. 54 near Pratt Family Dental then north to the intersection of 54 and Fincham Road.
Rambat said a previous study on that project showed it would cost from $800,000 to $1 million to get the line from the existing line to the intersection for a gravity system. The reason it’s so expensive is a gravity line would have to be very deep.
The city doesn’t have that in their budget and it would probably take several years to put that kind of money together. So for now, a lift station appears the faster, more economical way to go, Rambat said.
Whatever happens, the sewer issue is the toughest issue facing development and will be a difficult issue to solve.
“The sewer is going to be a big problem,” said Brad Blankenship, city inspector.
Other issues also have to be addressed. The water feed for the property would probably be best handled with a looped system. The amount of water usage and fire protection are critical issues that need to be addressed for a looped system, Scritchfield said.
Due to the proximity to a hill on U.S. 54, an engineering and traffic impact study is needed to determine what issues will arise with emergency equipment entering the highway at NE 20th Avenue. Scritchfield wants to know if Kansas Department of Transportation will allow a reduced speed limit in the area.
Another issue with development is fiber optic service. There could be right of way issues and those need to be addressed.
The new county buildings will access NE 20th Avenue that will be upgraded from U.S. 54 to the entrance.