Kaw Lake pipeline route

A map depicting the Kaw Lake pipeline route between Enid and Kaw Lake.  

ENID, Okla. — Enid city commissioners met with members of Garney Construction, the top candidate for construction manager-at-risk (CMAR) for the Kaw Lake water pipeline project, for the first time during a Tuesday study session.

While the city has been contracting with Garver Engineering for planning and design of the project, a CMAR is responsible for its actual construction.

Garney Construction has completed 186 water and wastewater projects in the region, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana and Arkansas, according to the firm's director of central U.S. pipe operations.

With the addition of Garney to the project, the city will be able to get another cost estimate to compare to previous ones.

Ultimately, commissioners haven't reached a consensus on whether or not to hire Garney, wanting to take a closer look at the firm's track record regarding accuracy of price estimates on similar projects before they make a decision.

"I want to know what these other communities paid them," Ward 3 Commissioner Ben Ezzell said. "I'm really interested in how close that guaranteed maximum price has been to the actual (early) design estimate that these other communities have had."

This will slow down progress somewhat on the pipeline, which is already six months behind the initial schedule, but time is one of the few areas where the city has wiggle room, according to the city's engineering department.

"We can't compromise on quality, we can't compromise on cost, but we can compromise a little bit on schedule," said Chris Gdanski, Enid's head of engineering.

Following the presentation by Garney, commissioners heard an update on the state Vance Air Force Base, starting with the status of proposed plans to replace the existing enlisted dorms.

Mayor George Pankonin toured the quarters earlier in the day along with members of Vance Development Authority.

"It gave us a good idea of the living conditions that they're in and the reason the Air Force would like to upgrade them," Pankonin, an Air Force veteran, said.

"The rooms are half the size of a dorm room from the 1950s, that's about what they're like," he said.

The dorms are roughly 92 square feet, making them 40 square feet shy of what current Air Force instructions call for.

The replacement of the dorms has been a high priority for 71st Flying Training Wing Commander Col. Corey Simmons, among others.

Proposed facilities would boast 100 rooms at 170 square feet each, closets included.

"Outdated dorms are not a Vance problem, they're a military problem worldwide," Pankonin said, adding Vance is a good place to begin the effort of solving the issue because of its relatively small size.

"When you want to find a solution you don't find the biggest challenge to start with. What you do is find a Vance-sized one, figure out how to do it and work your way up from there," Pankonin said. "We've got a lot of big people in a lot of places willing to help us with this."

Besides the issue of enlisted living quarters, VDA discussed the possibility of upgrading Enid Woodring Regional Airport's radar capabilities.

The civilian airport frequently lends its runways to use by Vance pilots, and because the military air traffic coming and going is so high, there's serious thought being given to improving the radar equipment at Woodring's disposal to match Vance, for a cost of $1.4 million.

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Willetts is education and city reporter for the Enid News & Eagle.
Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for Mitchell? Send an email to mwilletts@enidnews.com.

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