Last summer, in what seemed like every nation, tribe and tongue, people were talking about the sewer system at Mount Ellis Academy. It's old news now that MEA won a $500,000 grant with 144,000 votes in the Kohl's Cares competition. It was a tremendous miracle and blessing.
Many of those who worked hard for MEA during the contest have inquired about the status of the project. It was the school's hope that workers would already be putting pipes in the ground. However, when faced with the happy circumstance of having some money to address the need, a number of unanticipated options presented themselves. The most notable one was the city of Bozeman expressed some initial willingness to provide a path of least resistance to connect the school to the city sewer, thus avoiding the need for a new on-site system.
Desiring to make the best possible decision for the school, the MEA operating board appointed an infrastructure committee to evaluate options and recommend a way forward. After weighing alternatives, the infrastructure committee has recommended, and the board has approved, the following plan regarding school infrastructure and use of grant money:
To construct a sewer system accommodating several campus buildings, thus removing significant load from the old system. This allows continued function at lower capacity. Operating two smaller systems promises significant savings both in terms of initial installation and long-term maintenance. This solution allows the school to move forward with construction of new buildings that can be tied into the newer system. Construction is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2012. Thank you so much for your support and interest in this project.