To: Citizens of the Augusta Schools District
Re; The vote to install turf on Wheeler field
The purpose of this is to inform the folks of the district as to the reasons for our vote on the project. We will from time to time, when there is a subject that may be controversial write about why we voted the way we did on the matter.
The first time the field came up was at a committee meeting that only a few board members were present at. It was recommended at that time the subject be brought before the entire Board. There was little time for what we would consider proper research to be done for the project. True, the football field has been covered recently but neither of us was involved with the project.
When brought up at the regular meeting, the Board was told the field was a danger for the players. The field was full of holes, that might cause bad hops, and improper grading that could cause player injury, as well as the baselines being too wide. It was asked that bids be taken for grading, seeding, and or sod, as well as a new irrigation system to water the field, turf was also asked to be bid. Discussion was about the drought, if it happened again, we would not be able to keep the field in good condition and the investment would be for naught. There was a decision made to meet again the next week to review the proposals. It was not stated at that time that action would be taken so quickly.
The proposals were as follows: we will refer to them as 1,2,3, etc. 1, was to Astroturf the field for $ 300,000 inclusive of a 6’ apron, and several replacement pitchers mounds and batter boxes. (Mounds, and boxes were not listed). Another by #1, was without the apron for $ 278,062. (No boxes, mounds listed again). Bidder #2 was for $ 237,000 without an apron. We would not be able to finance. There was a concern the company had not done any local fields.
We will make this part short. #3 We will only mention the low bidder for grass (local guy) on the infield and outfield, and irrigation for the infield and outfield. $ 4600, for irrigation for infield, $ 18,300 for irrigation for outfield, Natural grass for infield $ 29,440, includes grading, then, sod back with locally grown fine blade grasses. (No warranty without sprinkler system in operating condition). Top dress and seed outfield; $17,120, for a total of $ 69,460. This vendor was the only one that bid the irrigation system. The other vendors were significantly higher on the grass.
So, as you can see, no apples to apples bid on the turf, or irrigation. Only two bidders on the turf, two for the infield. No consistent plan for maintenance in either situation and even with the vote taken, this was not addressed. This large expenditure was only discussed for about 15 minutes a motion was made to approve the Astroturf installation. Because we felt a decision of this magnitude warranted more time and attention to detail, we each cast a no vote.
Page 2 of 2 - We did not think we could spend that many of your hard earned dollars on a single use facility with the information at hand. Our intent in the future will be to have a louder voice and do our best to make sure the process has better information, as well as more formal. We realize this is a short synopsis of the events, it was meant to be so as to save space to be allowed for publishing.
In your service
Matthew Blank and Kim Braungardt