MARQUETTE - The Coast Guard's new station in Marquette is nearly 50 percent complete.
Wayne Premeau of Premeau Construction, the general contractor for the project, said crews are currently finishing the concrete work in both the boathouse and the main building.
"It should be done early in the spring," he said.
He said Cost Guard officials recently chose the type of heating system the building would use - a geothermal heat pump.
"It's supposed to be the most economical way and the payback is fast," Premeau said. "I think it's going to take off big up here because your overall operating cost is way down compared to your other fuels."
Geothermal heat pumps use underground pipes filled with water that is influences by the stability of underground temperatures. In the winter, the pumps move the heat from the earth into a building. In the summer, they pull the heat from a building and discharge it into the ground.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy Web site, the cost of installation of the units can be several times that of an air-source system but additional costs are returned in energy savings in 5 to 10 years. The system's life span is estimated at 25 years for the inside components and more than 50 years for the ground loop.
While work on the new station progresses, efforts to secure the old Coast Guard station and the surrounding property for the city have slowed.
A direct transfer of the land from the Coast Guard to the city was included in separate Coast Guard appropriations bills in the U.S. Senate and House.
The House version of the bill was approved in May. However, the Senate version has been held up by some senators who object to certain provisions in the bill, according to Marquette City Commission member Fred Stonehouse.
"The Coast Guard bill is an omnibus bill with a whole lot of stuff in it," Stonehouse said. "There are a couple parts of it that are really contentious - nothing to do with Marquette - but that's what has held it up."
Stonehouse said the bill is likely dead for this year but will be picked up again in 2009.