- FUN FEATURES
Bids were received for the first portion of the turf field project at Cheshire High School and fall in line with what officials state they had expected.
The project continues to move forward and within the next 30 days the absolute final costs should be known. Bids opened on June 8 were for "the rug" or the actual turf itself. The low bid was for $312,025 by Field Turf. A total of three companies responded to the Request For Proposal, and the bids ranged from $312,025 to $376,669.
The Turf Committee is not tied into the lowest bidder, as all turf “is not created equal,” explained Bob Behrer, chairman of the Committee. Instead, with the held of the Public Building Commission, the recommendation to the Cheshire Town Council will be that the Town contract with Shaw Sportexe, which submitted an offer of $337,800. During the planning stages, the Committee had estimated the turf portion of the project would cost roughly $347,000, Behrer said.
"This is right on target with our estimates," he commented. "We knew what these numbers would be based on the square footage, but it's good to finally see it in writing."
Obtaining a turf quote was the first step in turning the proposed field into a reality. The way the Turf Committee and Public Building Commission planned the project allows for known costs. Working with consultant Milone and MacBroom, it was decided that the Committee would get prices for the turf first, then for the general contractor work, which would include the removal of the existing grass field, drainage, curbs, and other items. The idea is that the general contractor will not be able to artificially inflate the costs of the artificial turf. The general contractor, who is expected to be selected within the next few weeks, would work with the turf provider and installer that the Committee selected.
"We are going to assume the people who bid on the construction part will provide their best offers," Behrer stated. "Everything is in line at the moment."
The Turf Committee has estimated that the project would cost around $750,000 total to complete.
Funding for the project is expected to come from two sources. A total of $525,000 will be supplied by a state grant that was acquired in 2009 and accepted by the Town Council. The remainder of the funding will come from the Turf Committee, which has been soliciting donations for the last year. The committee currently has approximately $250,000 in its coffers to contribute to the project.
Supporters of the turf field have stated repeatedly that no local tax dollars would be used on the installation of the field. There are, however, some shared costs between the Committee and the Board of Education, as the track surrounding the field is also slated to be replaced in future years. Any portion of the project that includes track work will be paid for by the BOE, not the Turf Committee.
For a while, the turf project seemed dead on arrival, as there wasn't full support of the Town Council, However, one member, Tim White, resigned and was replaced by Steve Carroll, who flipped the balance of 5-4 against the project to 5-4 in favor of it. Behrer said he hoped to start work on the project in May 2010, but the support just wasn't there.
"That's the political part of this. Without that change, we'd still be stalled," he explained.
With the project there are some extras that could be in play depending on the funding available. For instance, the Cheshire High School logo on the center of the field and markings for additional sporting events are all considered extras. Behrer said they could install special sleeves around the track that, at a later date when more funds are raised, would hold a net. This would allow for a sporting event to take place on the field, and people would still be able to utilize the track.
"There are some extras we'd like to consider," he said.
Behrer said there is no drop dead date for the project. Work can begin sometime in July and would go into October. He said that has been known from the beginning, the only question is, will it be mid-or late October? If it's completed by late October, the football team would still be able to play four games at home, including the Thanksgiving Day game, Behrer said.
"This isn't going to stop," he said. "Everybody is well aware that time is of the essence."