Board tries to trim cost at Hopkins
The Marshall County Board of Education held a special called meeting on Monday, Dec. 17 to discuss how they should proceed with proposed renovations to Preston Hopkins Field.
The low bid for the project presented at the board’s monthly meeting last week came in at $100,000 more than the $1,050,000 budgeted for the plan and did not include paving, fencing, and fees associated with the plan.
The core feature of the renovation is the replacement of the current concessions and restroom building with a more up-to-date, codes compliant, and efficient structure.
Taken aback by the cost, board members agreed to the special meeting to address the cost in detail.
The architect on the project, John Trail, created a list of things that might help trim down the costs. Anything from roofing material to the pitch of the building, Trail figured even the tiniest thing in helping meet the budget. However, Trail’s cutbacks added up to right at $96,000, which still wasn’t enough.
“An expensive part of this entire project is the site drainage. By far, it’s the largest item. It’s $130,000,” Trail said.
Trail explained the reasoning behind the costs by reminding everyone they have to raise the building to keep it from flooding and for the sewer to work properly.
“My proposal to John was we aren’t trying to pave this right now, anyway. We’re just trying to get it built,” Director of Schools Jacob Sorrells said. “I really feel like this is the tipping point of either doing it or not doing it because it’s so much money.”
Most football fields have a crown, however, Hopkins does not according to Sorrells. The whole field drops north to south, and it even tilts slightly which makes drainage a small problem. Trail offered his solution of shortening the drainage pipe but has to check with the civil engineer before giving a final say so.
Overall, the board had to trim at least $224,000 to meet the budget. As Trail went through the list of things, each item brought up the debate to keep or not keep. Even with the cutbacks, the board has to consider the design fees and the contingency. Line by line, members voted on items while adding the total amount.
“As of right now, we still need to trim $100,000,” Sorrells said after adding up the newly voted items. “I am cautious about pulling money out of fund balance.”
Board member Harvey Jones suggested they use capital outlay to cover the remaining costs.
“We have to spend it anyway between now and June 1st,” Jones said.
Kristen Gold reminded others any extra money could go right back into the capital outlay for reserve.
“I think we have that money to make it happen, but I have to check with Wiles (Janet Wiles, school finance director) first,” Sorrells said.
The board voted on the agreed items to help trim costs and taking money from capital outlay upon contingent on its availability.