A work crew busy this week at Dakota State University is making repairs to walkways that should improve safety for campus pedestrians and make the area look a bit more pleasing to the eye.
The task of reworking the brick inlays into the concrete walkway between the Trojan Center and East Hall was given to a group of minimum-security inmates who began the project on Monday. The five men who were wearing institutional orange T-shirts were putting down new sand and reinserting bricks into the sidewalk on Wednesday afternoon.
Pat Keating, physical plant director at DSU, said the repair work was necessary because the quality of the previous inlays had declined, providing uneven surfaces on which to walk.
According to Keating, some of the brick inlays had sunk down 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch.
"The bricks had settled over the years, and we were looking at a number of trip hazards," Keating said. "We wanted to correct that situation and do some other edge-bricking work."
The work crew was making improvements to the brick inlays by using a "dry-laid" process. After the old inlay areas are cleared out, the bed areas for the bricks receive a new base of fine sand. The bed sand is leveled out and the bricks are reinserted. Then, more sand is installed to fill the cracks in between the bricks.
The dry-laid method is supposed to make renovations and repair cheaper and easier than other types of brick-and-mortar construction.
Keating said the work crew should stay busy into next week. He plans to have the inmates repair some substandard-looking brick edging located near DSU's Zimmermann Hall.
The state Department of Corrections inmates who are performing the work are housed at Unit C, a minimum-security unit in Sioux Falls. The men are considered low-risk offenders and are transported to and from their Sioux Falls facility each day.