Construction begins on larger recycling center

New complex sits behind P-12 expanded lot

By Lorna Hartman, Staff Writer

By the time school starts next fall, site preparations will be complete for a new recycling complex out behind the expanded P-12 parking lot.

Several companies submitted bids by the deadline of May 15. After examining the bids and checking with the Department of Labor and Industries, EWU has selected Halme Construction to carry out Phase I of the construction plans, according to Mike Davis, construction project manager at EWU.

Halme Construction has worked with the City of Spokane Water Department and Lincoln County Public Works, among other clients. It is largely a family business, according to Vice President Jason Halme, with 45 employees and current annual revenues of $10 to $13 million.

Phase I includes construction of the P-12 parking lot expansion as well as base excavation for the recycling center complex. Construction of the recycling complex will take place in Phase II, which cannot be scheduled yet.

EWU is in the process of giving signature documents to Halme, and the construction contract should be fully signed and executed this week, according to Davis. The project is expected to begin early in June.

“You’re going to see a whole bunch of activity out there,” said Davis. “It’s going to require some significant large equipment to move the [amount] of earth that we want to move that’s required by this project.”

Recycling Director Karen Wichman said that the original recycling program here at Eastern was developed with little to no funding by adding it into the duties of the transportation supervisor. Former transportation supervisor Dennis Hayes, who recently retired, ran the program. He was at Eastern for about 23 years.

The current recycling facility is very small, according to Wichman, who is looking forward to the larger work space. She is hoping for additional funding too. “I’m hopeful that I will get a program support supervisor to oversee the operation,” said Wichman. “It’s a pretty big operation.”

The square footage of the new recycling facility has not been determined yet. “It’s a utility-type building, so it’ll probably be a steel frame with metal sides. So we have some flexibility [on size],” said Shawn King, associate vice president for facilities and planning.

According to Wichman, students who work in the recycling facility switch back and forth between the tasks of picking up recycling and sorting it. They pick up recycling every day using a rotating schedule of campus buildings. The current recycling facility has several large bins that students use for sorting, and they sort 20 to 25 large bins per week.

Many locations do not accept glass now because there are so many types of glass and because broken glass can contaminate whole containers. “We’re fortunate that our recyclers in Spokane will take glass,” Wichman said.

King said, “When this project is complete, it will give us the opportunity to recycle more. We’re kind of at the limits of what we have in a makeshift facility. … We reduce our waste stream, save the university money and encourage a practice that we want to enhance and grow.”

According to Davis, the total cost of construction for Phase I, with P-12 completion and site preparation for the recycling facility, will be $1,481,974.