Synthetic turf at NKHS stadium unlikely in ‘07

POULSBO — Despite pooling more than $1.1 million and creating a four-agency partnership, supporters of the North Kitsap Regional Events Center project uttered a collective “oh no” Thursday when they reviewed the low bid for synthetic turf for the North Kitsap High School stadium.

The bid from Seattle-based Ohno Construction came in at nearly $1.36 million, about $240,000 higher than NKREC committee estimates, leaving project backers with limited choices for the summer construction season.

“The bid came in higher than we expected,” NKSD capital programs director Robin Shoemaker said.

The bad news came during a North Kitsap School Board study session, and is expected to result in a bid rejection July 12 during the next board meeting. Official votes cannot be made during study sessions.

The postponed decision will likely lead to a delayed project. Supporters of the NKREC, which includes the Public Facilities District, Kitsap County, City of Poulsbo and the NKSD, had planned to meet Friday morning during a special school board meeting to approve the bid and fast track the work, but cancelled that session in light of the funding discrepancy.

NKREC members raised $1.125 million for the turf installation, but agreed the difference between that and the bid was simply too great.

“When all of the four parties add up the money they have, it’s still close to $250,000 out of reach. It’s unlikely any additional funds will be available for the project this summer,” PFD Chair Linda Berry-Maraist said.

Berry-Maraist also felt even if the bid was accepted this summer, the timeframe may be too tight for crews to finish the project by September, when falls sports begin.

“The timeframe for these workers to finish the project would be extremely narrow,” she said. “The narrow timeframe also adds up to inflated costs and raised the price of the bid substantially. We don’t want to risk losing (the NKHS football team) the first football home game in September. They only have two home games this year.”

Shoemaker agreed that the timeline was indeed tight.

“It would be tough to get the project done by September,” she said to the board before a consensus was reached. “The workers would probably have to work seven days a week to get it done in time. It’s my recommendation that we proceed to look at next spring as an option to turf the field.”

Berry-Maraist said she feels it would work out better for all parties involved if the installation took place next year.

“If we go to re-bid in early February of 2008, we could give a contractor maximum flexibility time for construction,” she said. “It would be best if construction could start in May as soon as possible.”

Berry-Maraist is hopeful that installation of turf at nearby Strawberry Field could bid along with the turf work at the stadium next spring.

“It would be beneficial if we could bid them at the same time,” she said. “There would be more time to get the work done.”

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