Ephrata Board unanimously approves artificial turf field for War Memorial
Members of the Ephrata Areas School District School Board found themselves on the same turf Monday night when they met in a special meeting to approve bids for the proposed new artificial turf field at Ephrata War Memorial Field.
When an anonymous donor first approached the school district with an offer to donate $1M to get the ball rolling on the project, district leaders had no starting point from which to even guess what such a project might cost. At that point, the company which ultimately won the bid, Sprinturf, LLC did some initial cost analysis which put estimated costs to come in between $1.4 and $1.8M.
But as the final bids were considered, Sprinturf’s bid came in the lowest and it came in significantly below those initial figures.
“We are excited the bids came in where they did,” explained District Superintendent Dr. Brian Troop. “Initially we were not considering the rubber pad [underlayment] and this price includes that pad.”
In all, the school board unanimously approved a total bid of $1.4M, but that figure also includes $70,450 for portable flooring which would be used with the grandstands for sporting events as well as for graduation and other events held on the field. This flooring is necessary to not only provide a stable surface but to also protect the district’s investment by creating a barrier between the new turf carpet and anything placed on top of it.
In creating the bids, the district specifically asked that the rubber pad underlayment be priced separately in the event it would opt out of it to keep costs lower.
But as Troop explained, throughout the process the district was adamant this project meet three basic requirements: It had to provide adequate safety to those using the field; it had to be designed to offer longevity and had to represent the base value for the use of the field. Troop said the proposal approved by the board meets all three requirements.
Sprinturf’s base bid of $1,383,250 already included the $129,100 for the specialized rubber pad underlayment which not only adds extra safety for those using the fields, but also can be re-used when the actual turf carpet needs to be replaced in perhaps 15-20 years.
Five bidders came forward with proposals for the field. Sprinturf is an experienced contractor that has installed many such fields in the past. And, with the proposed War Memorial Field project expected to become a showpiece to be used to show future turf customers what can be done.
What makes the War Memorial Field project so unique is that it will be used for such a wide variety of purposes, from football to baseball and also for band competitions.
Board member Glenn R. Martin asked the administration about the potential for cost over-runs and if there might be any anticipated bumps along the road to completion. Troop and district business manager Kristee Reichard explained that it is impossible to know for sure what unanticipated issues might arise, but added that the district had pre-negotiated rates to cover contingencies.
Martin also questioned a line item for portable fencing, pointing out that the field is already fenced in. Reichard explained that the portable fencing is to be used for setting up the field for baseball games and would create the perimeter used for such competitions.
Both Martin and Board President Timothy Stayer expressed deep gratitude for the anonymous donor who came forth to donate the bulk of the funds needed to make this a reality.
“We are very gracious to the donor that allowed us to move forward,” said Stayer. “To whoever that is, we say ‘Thank You.’”
With a $1M donation, that leaves the district balance on the project at $453,700. Troop explained where those funds would come from.
“The district’s portion of this project will come from funds set aside in our Capital Projects funds,” stated Troop. He was adamant in pointing out that none of those funds came from the district’s annual operating budget.
Troop told the press that construction is expected to begin in earnest within two weeks and be completed in time for the first home football game at the end of August.
For additional information Ephrata Area School District, please visit their website at www.easdpa.org.