By MARINA WATERS
Update: Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy vetoed the resolution that was approved by the commission at the Monday, June 24 meeting. On Wednesday, July 10, the Washington County Budget Committee discussed and approved sending a resolution to the commission to receive bids for preliminary electrical and underground work for the the county athletic facilities project in Boones Creek.
As the new Boones Creek School nears completion, the Washington County Commission has also made it a goal to see that at least a portion of the county athletic facilities behind the school are complete as well.
At the June 24 meeting, the commission approved a resolution for a concept plan and a plan of work not to exceed $800,000. The resolution passed 8-5. Commissioners Steve Light, Kent Harris, Jerome Fitzgerald, Danny Edens and Mike Ford were opposed. Commissioner Robbie Tester abstained from the vote and Jodi Jones was absent.
This step in the project includes basic preliminary work set to be done before the equipment currently on the site is moved. Tommy Burleson of Burleson Construction Co. said it would cost about $100,000 if the equipment had to be brought back to the site and if the dirt currently on the site had to be hauled back in, which Commissioner and Commerce Industry and Agriculture Committee Chairman Phil Carriger said he felt would only slow the process.
“What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to come up with a resolution that allows the project to proceed with moving dirt, installing drainage, underground utilities, shaping fields and installing grass while the contractors are at the site,” Carriger said. “Then later on your CIA can take a look at what additional things we want to do out there.”
However, some commissioners were concerned with the $800,000 price tag.
Commissioner Kent Harris said he felt $800,000 was a lot to take out of the $3.2 million budgeted for the Boones Creek athletic facilities.
“What I hate for us to do is spend this kind of money,” Harris said. “I think it’s going to hurt what we really wanna do out there. I think we can do this for a lot less. I think it’s just an outrageous number.
“I think it’s obvious someone else doesn’t have our same goal of keeping the price down on this project.”
Burleson added that $227,000 of the $800,000 for the preliminary work was for the design portion of the project.
Meanwhile, commissioners were also concerned about bidding the project.
“This is a considerable amount of money,” Commissioner Mike Ford said. “I just wonder, wouldn’t it be prudent to put this out for bid? It’s a government project. If I’m wrong, someone tell me I’m wrong.”
In June of 2017, the commission approved the contract with BurWil and a plan to grade and provide “other site development work related to the construction of a county athletic facility and park.” Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy reminded the commission that there are two contracts, one contract for the school and another for the athletic site, which is a county project and not that of the school system’s.
He also said the contract for the county athletic facilities at Boones Creek included leaving the site “finished”, but that changes would be needed for future developments if the work on the land is not complete.
“I think the suggestion was to bring the change order with BurWil to have the shape of the county’s field facility shaped the way of the site plan,” Grandy said. “The way the site plan is currently designed, from the school to Highland Church Road, there is about a 10-foot gradual slope towards the road. The track and the football field area, there’s an elevation change in one corner of the field to the other.
“So if it is finished the way the plans currently call for, the track area will be out of level, the soccer field and football field area would also have the same slope and the softball and baseball field areas would have to be reshaped.”
Carriger said with school starting on Aug. 5, one of the CIA Committee’s goals was to make sure the Boones Creek School students had grass and at least a portion of the county athletic facility site ready for use.
“I think we would like to have this presentable for the kids to go to school in August,” Carriger said. “I think we felt like we had the construction equipment already there. Our thought was that it was prudent to proceed to get the dirt moved, get it sloped the right way, get the grass seed on so we could look at it in the future … there is a lot that we discussed, but we felt like time was of the essence and that with the August opening date, we needed to do something.”