BURLINGTON - Construction was set to begin last week to permanently separate the Moran building from Lake Champlain. Moran was constructed with intake and outflow "sluiceways" (flumes) that allowed water from Lake Champlain to enter and exit the building as part of the cooling process for the former power plant.
When the plant was decommissioned in 1986, the sluiceway gates were left open and the sump pumps were removed. Since the basement floor elevation is exactly the same as the average lake level, water fills the basement for much of the year. The work to begin this week will dam up the sluiceway openings, so the basement can be pumped out and kept dry.
CEDO Director Larry Kupferman noted that this work is noteworthy because it represents the first visible progress on the structure itself.
"We need to get the water out of the building, and clean-up the inside, as first steps towards the redevelopment of the Moran site," he said.
Kupferman noted that concrete cores taken earlier this year from the basement showed the concrete to be structurally sound, in spite of the water infiltration. Kupferman also noted that CEDO is working cooperatively with the Department of Environmental Conservation to monitor the construction work, and the City has secured permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Burlington Department of Public Works for the construction.
The work will be paid for with federal EPA funds secured through the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission's Brownfield's Initiative. CEDO applied to CCRPC to fund a variety of environmental assessment activities at Moran, including the sluiceway dam construction.
Julie Potter, a Senior Planner with the CCRPC in charge of the Brownfields Initiative said, "We are happy to participate in this phase of the Moran project. This is exactly the kind of project we had hoped to fund when we applied for federal Brownfields monies.
"Evaluating the environmental conditions and needs at former industrial sites is a critical step in helping these sites be redeveloped and returned to productive use," she added.
EPA funding through CCRPC is also paying for groundwater monitoring, and a site survey.
The sluiceway dams will be constructed by Engineers Construction, Inc. of South Burlington, under the supervisor of KAS Environmental Consulting and ESPC Engineering Consultants. Depending on weather conditions, work will likely begin Thursday, Dec. 10 and will take approximately two weeks to complete.
Architecture and engineering work begins
The local architecture firm Freeman French Freeman met this week with the City and the three project partners - Green Mountain Children's Museum, Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center and Ice Factor - to further define their respective programming and space needs in a renovated Moran building.
This was essentially the kick-off of the first phase of the architecture and engineering work for the Moran Center project, which will include the production of more detailed "schematic" drawings, as well as more precise and reliable cost estimates. The A&E work was authorized by a unanimous vote of the City Council at its Oct. 20 meeting, and is expected to be complete by the end of March.
Freeman French Freeman is a nationally-acclaimed architecture firm, based in Burlington, Vermont, and just last month was named as the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce's small business of the year. Recent local projects designed by FFF include the Burlington International Airport and Fletcher Allen Health Care. The A&E team for the Moran project is headed by FFF President Jesse Beck, and Architect Alex Halpern.
EPA-funded consultants visit project
This summer the EPA selected the Moran Center as one of just 16 projects nationally for a Brownfields Sustainability Pilot award. This new program provides communities with technical assistance to help achieve greener assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of previously industrial sites.
Last week, a national expert on sustainable building design met with the City, EPA, and the FFF team to help assess the feasibility of implementing "green" aspects of the Moran project, including on-site renewable energy production, energy and water conservation, innovative stormwater treatment techniques, and ecological enhancements.
Donald Watson of Vita Nuova Consulting will work with the City and the A&E team through the first phase of design, adding value to the funds appropriated by the City for the design work. A final report should be complete by the end of March.
Vita Nuova is a recognized leader in the field of sustainable redevelopment and revitalization. Don Watson recently received two prestigious awards - the Green Building Council Leadership Award and the American Institute of Architect's Presidential Citation, recognizing his career achievements in architecture, energy and environment.