MTI asks county for help with housing, trafficGrowth, consolidation at south campus driving problems at local tech institute.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Mitchell Technical Institute President Greg Von Wald asked for the Davison County Commission’s help Tuesday with student housing and the addition of turning lanes at the Spruce Street and Highway 37 intersection.
Von Wald told commissioners during their weekly meeting at the courthouse that finding a solution to a growing housing shortage is crucial, both for the future of the college and to meet area workforce needs.
“There’s a real need for housing, especially with our school’s large growth. It doesn’t make for good recruiting,” he said. MTI enrollment was 755 students in 2007 and 757 in 2008, but has been more than 1,000 each year since and is 1,088 this year. Privately owned dorms on the MTI south campus are already full, he said, and students are sharing crowded apartments off-campus. Housing is an issue not only with students, but for workers and spouses seeking to relocate to the area, Von Wald said.
“When we bring them in and they can’t find a home or job for a spouse, they don’t stay,” he said.
The traffic situation at the burgeoning south campus will become more severe when MTI opens its new Trades Center building in the fall of 2013, he said.
“We’ve got a problem out there, and we have been desperate to get things moving,” he said.
The lack of right-turning lanes from Spruce to Highway 37 and from the highway to Spruce Street are the school’s most immediate need, Von Wald said. A short-term solution would be the widening of Spruce Street and addition of turning lanes, he said, and a long-term solution could be the addition of access to MTI by extending Foster Street.
Since state, city and county jurisdictions all coincide at the intersection, finding a quick solution has been impossible, Von Wald said.
“We really need a sponsor — someone to stand up and push this thing forward,” he said.
As things now stand, traffic bottlenecks are increasing at the intersection and it is becoming more dangerous, commissioners said.
Commissioner John Claggett said county and city representatives will meet at 10:30 a.m. April 6 at Mitchell City Hall with DOT Mitchell area engineer Tammy Williams to discuss a solution.
“We’re going to have to find some way to do something,” he said.
Miller moves on
The commissioners accepted the resignation of consultant Allan Miller, who resigned as a consultant for Davison County to become Region 6 coordinator for the state Office of Emergency Management.
Miller was helping county Emergency Management Director Jim Montgomery with the distribution of federal grant money to surrounding counties in Region 5 since Davison was the lead county in the region.
Under a state reconfiguration that begins in April, Davison County will be moved from Region 5 to the new Region 6, Montgomery said, and will be under Miller’s jurisdiction. Miller will be based in Mitchell.
Other counties in the new Region 6 are Beadle, Kingsbury, Sanborn, Miner, Hanson, Hutchinson, Bon Homme and Yankton.
In the future all Federal Emergency Management Agency grant money will no longer be directed through lead counties but through the regional coordinators.
The commission approved truck load limits on all county roads, effective March 19.
The restrictions include a 6-ton-per-axle weight limit with an 80,000-pound gross total weight limit and a 40 mph speed limit for trucks.
Excluded from load limit restrictions are the following roads, which will still be reduced 40 mph speed limits:
• 254th Street (Highway 16) between 394th and 408th avenues (from the Aurora County line to Mitchell);
• 397th Avenue, from Interstate 90 to Mount Vernon;
• 403rd Avenue (Betts Road) from 255th Street to I-90;
• 403rd Avenue (Betts Road) from 254th Street to the unincorporated town of Betts;
• 247th Street, from 405th Avenue to Highway 37 (409th Avenue), which will be posted as 8-tons-per-axle;
• Ohlman Street, which will be posted with “No Thru Trucks” signage from Eighth Avenue north to the south driveway of Twin City Fan.
If current dry conditions continue, Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg said the weight limits may be on for a short period, but that will depend on weather and monitored road conditions.
The commissioners also:
• Approved a job classification change for Justin Tuckerman, from part-time correction officer to full-time Corrections Officer III, starting March 17 at a rate of $12.64 an hour, up from $11.20 an hour.
• Approved a dual job classification for Darin Moke, who has been working as a parttime deputy sheriff. The commissioners also approved Moke to work as a part-time Corrections Officer III at a rate of $11.20 an hour.
• Created a new task force to handle details associated with moving the community health nursing offices to new offices at the Central Electric Co-op building on North Main Street. The committee will include commissioners Jerry Fischer and John Claggett, Auditor Susan Kiepke, county nurse Natalie Van Drongelen, and Maintenance Supervisor Mark Ruml, along with technical advice from a Tech Solutions representative.
Sitting as the Board of Adjustment, the commissioners:
• Approved a conditional use permit for a concrete recycling plant, for which abutting property owners have been notified.
The plant will be operational for one year at a location north of I-90 and west of 401st Avenue. It will be used to grind concrete during the reconstruction of I-90 this summer. Proximity to the highway means that trucks will not have to use county roads.
• Issued a conditional use permit for a three-plot family cemetery at 40476 266th Street, Ethan, at the request of applicant Gary Mogck.