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Baseball Field Upgrades to Push GRHS Project Over Budget

District going out to bid on the baseball field on Dec. 18; expects to dip into an $800,000 capital fund to pay for a series of upgrades.

Now that its high school athletic field project is pressed against its budget, the Glen Rock school board will have to dip into an emergency capital fund to pay upcoming bills.

With a $176,000 change order approved Monday, costs for the referendum portion of the project are at $4.5 million of the budgeted $4.6 million.

The district will have to dip into its capital budget to finish up the baseball-related work, according to school board president Rona McNabola.

According to state law, any money specifically budgeted to referendum work can not exceed the voter-passed budget figure unless a waiver is granted by the county. The district can pay for projects with its capital budget, however. The baseball field work falls under that category.

Per McNabola, the remainder of the project – which comes out of capital outlay, not the referendum – could tally up to $400,000, drawn out of the $800,000 emergency capital fund set aside in June.

"For the baseball project we will be using some of that money," McNabola said. "We really won't know what that number is until the bids come back on December 18th."

Prospective work includes re-grading of the outfield, a sprinkler system, new dugouts, protective fencing, among other upgrades. District Business Administrator Michael Rinderknecht believes the field could be ready for play by April 1, depending on weather.

A special public meeting has been scheduled at 9 a.m. on Dec. 20 to accept and approve the bid.

Though technically two separate projects, costs to transform the overall high school athletic complex have grown substantially from the initial $3.5 million bid awarded to contractor Turco Golf. The finding of unsuitable soil at the multi-purpose field during the summer delayed work, led to large change orders in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and prompted officials to set aside the $800,000.

Soil, however, is being "recycled" to keep costs down.

"That big pile of soil out on the field right now – that's all clean soil," McNabola said Wednesday. "Instead of paying them to cart it away, we're going to use it to level the outfield. That saves...about $200,000. Plus, the outfield will be leveled better. The gist of the whole project is it's....not going to have the holes and divits and it will be less sloped."

Board members in June were worried dipping into the capital outlay fund could jeopardize future work on facilities.

McNabola does not foresee an issue going forward.

"It's not going to jeopardize other projects," the board president maintained.

What do you think? Having basically reached its overall budget, should the district be spending an extra $300,000 to make improvements to the baseball field? With money depleted, should it be tough luck to the ball players? Add your comment below.

Anonymousanonymous December 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Wow! Now that's good government! I'm so glad, they contracted out the janitorial service and cafeteria. It all makes sense.
Anonymousanonymous December 13, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I really think we need a dome!
milly December 13, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Just because there is money there, why do we need to spend it? Find a different contractor who will do the work within our budget, if that price doesn't fit then don't buy it. Seems like a 2nd grader can figure that out when counting coins...not enough nickels, so we can't buy it. 200k to remove soil, WOW! Registering my LLC now for the bid on the 18th.
glenrocker15 December 14, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Mr. Ruckhaus is absolutely correct! Here we are at the start of winter, and the BOE is actually considering staring work that can only be done properly in the warmer months. To lay sod are spread seed with freezing temperatures, snow, frozen ground or a wet spring is simply a lack of common sense. And for what - to appease a group of parents who are whining that that baseball program was left out or that their kids could not play home games in 2012? Renovations to the fields did not gegin until last May - in fact, wasn't graduation was held on the baseball field this past June(?) - so why were baseball games not scheduled or played last season? Now the BOE will rush this work to attempt to salvage a handful of games. Why weren't these renovations considered with the original design - now the BOE (and parents) is just waking up? Note to BOE: do the work in the warmer months, let the new grass take root, be properly maintain and ready in 2014 - no more wasting of taxpayer dollars!
Mark Ruckhaus December 14, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Um, Glenrocker, I didn't quite say that work shouldn't be started now. What I said is that the job shouldn't be done half-assed. If you're going to rebuild the ballfield essentially from scratch, do it right--level the field, grass infield, proper dugouts/and fencing, sprinkler system and a decent sized backstop. And maybe lights, too. Build and maintain it so the field can hold tournaments, which will recoup at least a few bucks. At the least, darned near everything, save for the grass, can be done now, weather permitting. And, as far as the ballfield being used for graduation but not baseball, I think it was because the whole area was a construction zone. Though I guess it was OK to use one time for the graduation. But I might be talking out of school on that one.

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