Nicolet aims for late-summer completion of stormwater overhaul

Plan adds new pipe to filter water away from campus

Water from a pump pours out of Nicolet High School into an outside drain in July 2010 after severe rainstorms caused catastrophic flooding.

Water from a pump pours out of Nicolet High School into an outside drain in July 2010 after severe rainstorms caused catastrophic flooding. Photo By Gary Porter

Feb. 19, 2013

Glendale - Nicolet plans to have a revamped stormwater system in place by the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

The Nicolet School Board last week fielded a design update from North Shore Engineering co-owner Jim Hensel, who said the stormwater overhaul is coming in at or around the original estimate of $1.5 million.

"It's working out like we're hoping," he told the board.

The design strategy underlying the plan is to divert stormwater through regraded, V-shaped parking lots, around and away from the schools and into catch basins which would feed into a 42-inch pipe and discharge into the Milwaukee River. That pipe, according to the design, would be separate from the 48-inch pipe which Nicolet and the surrounding area currently feed into. When the existing pipe overloaded during the catastrophic rainstorms in July 2010, water backed up into the Nicolet campus and caused an estimated $14 million in damage.

"We want to mitigate a huge storm," Hensel said. "We want to be sure that if we get the nine inches (in 24 hours) that we're doing the darndest we can to get (the water) pushed away, get the system taking as much as it can, so the school doesn't get it."

Though the School Board had considered holding off on the work until the state Department of Transportation begins work on an Interstate 43 reconstruction in 2019 - thinking that maybe some work could be shared, or the DOT project could affect Nicolet's plan - the looming threat of further flooding and the $100,000 the district has paid annually in added flood insurance since 2010 proved too much to ignore.

"We can't expect that there's going to be anything that (the DOT) is ultimately going to do to save us money," board member Morton Grodsky said, "and we can't wait that long anyway."

According to District Business Manager Jeff Delutri, the district would borrow about $2.5 million which includes the stormwater work and other capital projects, with a 10-year payback, which would cost the district about $300,000 annually - $200,000 once the new stormwater system eliminates the need for added insurance.

Board member Joseph Kasle implored district administration to look into possible cost sharing agreements, grants, or "anything that puts us in better financial shape than we're in today, because we're bearing the entire cost."

Facilities Director Brian Reiels said, pending board approval, the district could go into design in mid-March, out for bids immediately after, and begin construction in late spring.

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