Vale Public Works Committee recomends city take over water line

Work continues on Vales new middle school but for more than a month the city and the school district have been at odds over a water line loop at the new facility. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

VALE – The Vale Public Works Committee voted Wednesday night for the city to take over a water line at the new middle school.

The water line loop has been at the center of a clash between the city and the district for several weeks.

Next, the Vale City Council will review the recommendation at its regular meeting Tuesday night.

Alisha McBride, Vale school district superintendent, said late Thursday that she could not comment on the proposal and whether she supports it.

“At this point, it is simply a recommendation and I can’t comment on it because I don’t know the specifics,” said McBride.

Katy Lamb, Vale city manager, said if the council accepts the committee’s recommendation, it will ask the district to conduct a new bacteria test on the line. Lamb said the city also will ask the district for a set of diagrams, inspection reports, and architecture and engineer records.

The city would maintain the line and repair it, but the committee has suggested a contract that would require the district to reimburse the city for any repairs for 10 years.

The district also would agree to grant the city any surface and subsurface easements to allow for future expansion.

At issue is a water line loop installed around the middle school by a district contractor last spring. 

School district officials say the loop, which is intended for fire protection and water supply to the new school, was part of the building plans that were accepted by the city.

City officials contend the water line wasn’t approved by the city engineer and the installation wasn’t properly inspected before it was hooked into the city water system. Water to the line was shut off until the issue could be resolved.

A special meeting of the city council last week that included district officials and residents failed to solve the problem. At the meeting, the council voted to let the public works committee review the matter and deliver a recommendation.


Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.