Restoration of Four Mounds Property in Dubuque

April 2, 2003

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2003_04_02.jpgPLATTEVILLE - Eight UW-Platteville students, who will be graduating this May, have divided themselves into three groups to work on the Four Mounds Property in Dubuque, Iowa, to satisfy the requirements for a senior design project in the engineering department.

The Four Mounds Property consists of four Indian burial mounds located on 54 acres along the scenic banks of the Mississippi River. Home to the Youth Empowerment Service (YES) to guide and counsel young teens, the Four Mounds Property is also a historical site that is in need of restoration and preservation of the properties natural resources. The senior design team from UWP was called upon to fulfill these needs.

The first group comprised of three students has been responsible for redesigning the septic systems for three different buildings on the property while maintaining the aesthetic beauty of the property. The three buildings consist of a bed and breakfast, a house currently being rented and a building containing offices that will eventually be renovated into another bed and breakfast.

The three students include Kristy Ketcher, a fifth-year senior from Waconia, Minn., majoring in environmental engineering; Marie Hull, a fifth-year senior from Portage, majoring in environmental engineering; and Nick Huettl, a fifth-year senior from Oregon, majoring in civil engineering with an emphasis in geotechnical and environmental engineering.

So far the group has dedicated the majority of its time to research the different alternate septic systems that would solve the problem and preserve the natural beauty of the property. In doing so, the group must also meet the needs of the client and follow the correct ordinances to install a septic system. The next step for the group is to meet with the client and present its recommendations. Although the group has met challenges while finding information and maps of the property, members feel generally well-prepared for the project by their classes.

The second group, also consisting of three students, is in charge of expanding the parking areas and assessing options for erosion control of the hiking trails and lookout areas. Each majoring in civil engineering, the three group members include Angie Peterson, a fifth-year senior from Blooming Prairie, Minn., Becky Bieganski, a sixth-year senior from Greenfield, and Anne Lucas, a fifth-year senior from Appleton.

Currently the group has completed survey work of the property and has begun initial research on different permeable pavement and retaining walls. The group's next step includes putting together the survey points on a map using a computer software program called Land Development. The group members have been challenged in organizing their schedules, making deadlines and finding solutions that will meet the client's needs and wants. Thus far, the group has learned a great deal about working with a client along with the notion that not everything engineers do is pure engineering.

The final group consists of two students working on various solutions to solve the drainage problems that are washing out one of the current driveways on the Four Mounds Property. The duo consists of Cody Austin, a fifth-year student from Lancaster, majoring in civil engineering with an emphasis in transportation; and Douglas Ball, a fifth-year senior from Sparta, majoring in civil engineering with an emphasis in construction management.

The group has surveyed the site, researched different materials and options and designed drawings and layouts based on survey results. To complete the project the group still needs to design different erosion control methods and prepare a written report for the client. Despite being challenged with weather and time issues, the group has enjoyed working with the client and learning first-hand about time management in the work field. The group members feel their classes have helped them out immensely and the professors have done whatever they have been able to do to provide assistance and guidance with the project.

The eight-member team has worked with client John Gronen and project professors Christina Curras, Phillip Parker and Lisa Riedle to complete the work on the Four Mounds Property.

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Left to Right: Cody Austin and Douglas Ball

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Left to Right: Marie Hull, Kristy Ketcher and Nick Huettl

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