Pitbull Powers Through Challenging Monastery Project

The Pitbull 5700 screening plant has a 60-in.-wide conveyor system and a 10- by 7-ft. two tier screening box which provides 140 sq. ft. of total screening area. (CEG photo)

Thu November 03, 2022

In the rolling hills of southern Herkimer County, just outside of the small community of Jordanville, N.Y., is the location of the Iveron Mother of God Monastery, which is operated by a group of Russian Orthodox sisters.

Due to an unexpected set of circumstances, the sisters have had to move their monastery and construct a new facility, a project that began on Feb. 8, 2018, with the purchase of some rural property with a historical home. This will be the site of the future church as well as a special project that provides most of the sustenance for the members of the monastery.

The sisters of the monastery are largely self-sufficient and currently are taking on some significant sized tasks. The farmhouse located on the property has been remodeled and expanded to provide proper shelter for the women, as well as a chapel within the home. They produce much of their own food, so gardens have been cultivated and planted, and are now producing some of their first harvest from the property.

The sisters have a unique income source in the form of a store/gift shop that offers handmade items such as candles, hand and body creams, incense, herbal teas, and perhaps most uniquely, handwoven and hand-dyed items. Some of these handwoven and hand-dyed items include scarves, hats and other items of clothing, as well as yarn that comes from their own herd of alpacas.

One of the biggest challenges the sisters currently are facing is the necessity to build living spaces for new members of the monastery, the threat of losing the facility where their alpacas currently are being housed and the property that is being used for their retail store.

Unfortunately, things have not gone altogether smoothly in the site development of the new monastery. The biggest challenge has been the soil conditions at the site, a very challenging hard, rocky clay that develops very close to the surface and condenses to shale within a few feet.

As contractors have tried to excavate, on the site drainage has been a significant problem. Managing the excavated material into any sort of reusable product is a major problem, developing a high potential for cost overruns. A delay in the completion of the project, in particular the construction of the alpaca barns and the store, would shut off the cashflow to the monastery.

Through an acquaintance who is involved in the project, Lance Conley, master distributor of Pitbull topsoil screeners, heard about the dilemma the monastery was facing and donated the use of a new product that was just coming off the Pitbull assembly lines.

The Pitbull 5700 is the newest and largest severe duty scalping screen the company has ever offered. The screening plant has a 60-in.-wide conveyor system and a 10- by 7-ft. two tier screening box, which provides 140 sq. ft. of total screening area. The massive conveyor has a tip height of 13 ft., providing for significant stockpiling or direct feed into most construction vehicles.

The Pitbull would completely change the dynamics of what was happening on the monastery job site. The Pitbull high-volume heavy-duty machine was quickly separating rocks that could be used for backfill from what was useless material, and creating top soil that would be key to the sisters and their future plans of increasing yields of agricultural products. Within a very short time, the Pitbull 5700 was quickly putting the project back on course.

The amount of excavating necessary on the site for a relatively small project is significant. A 150- by 150-ft. plateau needed to be created to accommodate the store, as well as creating a proper setting for the alpaca barn. A total of 41,280 yds. of material were excavated. Only about 9-in. of topsoil on average is available on the site, so the topsoil being made by the Pitbull is particularly important. A privacy berm also is being created around the property.

The Pitbull conveyor is discharging directly into a Caterpillar scraper and the Cat scraper is then displacing the topsoil into the appropriate areas of the job site.

In the future, the sisters plan to build guest rooms on the property to house visitors to the monastery.

For more information about the monastery, or to purchase any of their handmade goods, including the handwoven alpaca wool garments, visit www.iveronmonastery.org. CEG

This story also appears on Construction Equipment Guide.