November 20, 2006

Vol. 2 No.3


Progress in the Lower Camp

Installing the underground sewer, electrical and communications infrastructure took us about four times longer than we anticipated. All this went underground which meant digging a lot of ditches and tearing up the main street of camp. We were at that project a month. It is now complete.

First we set the 5,000 gallon septic tank in the ground adjacent to the lab building. It was shipped to Albion on a long-bed trailer, too long to negotiate the narrow road and sharp turns of getting into the Field Station. Rolf Shandel, an equipment operator took it down on his short-bed heavy duty equipment trailer.

The ditches for all the pipes and conduit had to be about three feet deep. That far down under the Albion Field Station terrain is mud and water -- lots of mud and water! In addition there are many underground pipes that have accumulated through the years. It seems like we broke everyone of them. At times we were without water to some part of the campus for as much as a day. Believe it or not, the PUC administrators were in the ditch with us helping to install the sewer line.

From the new 5,000 gallon septic tank, we ran a six-inch sewer line in the ditch all the way up to Vanessa and then attached the sewer line from each cabin to that pipe. In addition, we put communications conduits in the ditch, a propane gas line and a four-inch electrical conduit to the lab in order to eliminate the overhead electric lines.This brings our utility infrastructure up to date for the campus.

Progress on Lonicera

At times Lonicera's progress seems to go at a snail's pace and at other times seems to sprint forward. To date, Lonicera is nearing completion. Dave Davies and Evan Witzel have completed the texturing of the dry wall. Pat Cochran painted the new bathrooms and Gibby Muth has only the base molding and door trim left to paint.

All new birch cabinets have been installed in the kitchenettes. The cabinets for the bathrooms are still on order. The floor has vinyl in the bathrooms and laminate with a pine board floor design in the bedrooms and kitchenettes. Area rugs will be used over the laminate. Jenny vonBlankenburg is coordinating the interior design.

Kevin Dennis installed the floor. Farrel Brizendine set the cabinets and cut in the base molding while Larry Provonsha and Gibby Muth assisted him and disposed of all the accumulated construction waste. Jeff Weston has been faithfully coming each weekend to install and plumb the tankless water heater, care for some electrical projects and oversee covering the exposed ends of the lower camp cabins with house wrap. Amerigas has just completed the propane hookup to the water heater and now we have hot and cold water to the building.

Burt Pontynen and Odie Weir have taken on the project of putting on the decks, railings and steps to Lonicera. By the time this newsletter reaches you they will have completed their job. Dan Muhic helped us do some of the finish plumbing but there is more to do now that we have the cabinets and floor covering installed. A local plumber was hired to complete some of the finish plumbing (setting toilets, etc.) so that the cabins can be used..

The next big thing for Lonicera is to construct lofts in each of the cabins just above the windows. There is plenty of room to do this because of the high sloped ceiling. There will be room for two twin mattresses in each loft and the ladder will be next to the door on one end of the room. With a queen bed in each cabin and two twin mattresses in the loft there will be room for four people in each of the rooms of Lonicera.

On the kitchen side we will have a table and four chairs. On the bedroom side of each cabin we will have a small seating area with a lamp and table in front of the window. The plan is to remove all the army surplus and "hand-me-down" furniture. It will be replaced with new good quality but reasonably inexpensive furniture. The hope is to make the Lonicera cabins a little extra special and an area for small groups to meet.

What is the Immediate Goal?

With the rains upon us, we need to button up the place for the winter. We have put all our building materials undercover. The tools are now all in the shop. With a little effort we will get all the Lonicera furniture back inside and the cabins usable. We had hoped to have the sidewalks, curbs and paving in by now but it hasn't happened yet. John Shandel has been working us in between his other jobs. He has had other obligations and we were not at the top of his list. There is a chance, if we get a long enough stretch of good weather, that he could do the work we need before spring. However, with no expectations there are no disappointments!

How are we doing Financially?

As you might recall, we started the project with $117,000 in hand. To date there have been donations totaling $55,000 for a total of $172,000. The expenses are right at $98,000 which leaves us with $74,000. To complete the restroom project we need at least $250,000 and perhaps $275,000 as a contingency. This means we need to raise a minimum of $100,000 to complete the project.

Now is a good time to think about your year-end giving. Albion could use a nice Christmas-New Year's gift!

We Still Need YOU!

We need help building the four lofts in Lonicera, skilled as well as unskilled help. There is also some other finish carpentry in Lonicera. There will be some more finish plumbing when the bathroom cabinets arrive and there is also some finish electrical work.

We are negotiating for some 1" x 12" rough-sawn cedar for the exterior of the buildings. As soon as we have that we can use help putting the siding on Lonicera.

Plan to be involved by contacting Dave Wiebe at 707-937-5440 or Gibby at 707-965-2607 and we will put you on the schedule. You can also email us using the contact information below.

David Wiebe, 707-937-5440,

Gibby Muth, 707-965-2607,

Larry Provonsha, 916-638-0842,



Dave Wiebe and Jim Pasch (Backhoe Operator) Start the Hole for the 5,000 Gallon Sewer Tank  


It seems that we broke every pipe we came to in the ground!


We Repaired a lot of PIpes!


Dave Wiebe and Jim Pasch digging the hole for 5,000 gallon Sewer Tank


5,000 Gallon Sewer Tank Being Set in Place


Final Resting Place for the 5,000 gallon Sewer Tank


Gibby Muth and Jim Pasch Digging the Ditch for the Underground Infrastructure


Bob Clough Checking Pipes in the Ditch


Pam Sadler and Lisa Paulson (PUC Administrators) Gluing PIpes in the Ditch


Conduit being laid in the Ditch


Kevin and Garret Dennis Laying Laminate Floor in Lonicera


Completed Laminate Floor in Lonicera


Lonicera Bathroom Vinyl


New Kitchen Cabinets in Lonicera

Newsletter Written and Edited by Gilbert Muth, 305 Sky Oaks Drive, Angwin, CA 94508 (707) 965-2607

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Copyright 2006 Albion Field Station


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