By Ben Lambert, Register Citizen
TORRINGTON >> Plans for the construction of a new softball field at Torrington High School were tweaked slightly Wednesday evening, when the Board of Education Budget Committee reviewed two bids for the project — both of which are over budget.
The amount of $122,388 is set aside in the district capital budget for the work. Two bidders came forward to signal their interest in the project — Lafferty Enterprise, which submitted a base bid of $123,540, and Jespersen’s Landscaping, which put forward a base bid of $125,000.
Both also gave estimated costs for rock excavation, if it is required as part of the construction effort, and four alternative items that could be added on. As described in documentation distributed Wednesday, these alternates were the installation of a three-inch conduit for a future scoreboard, the construction of two player benches, the installation of wind screens for the dugouts, and a set of three “break-away safety bases.”
After considering the two bids before them, committee members voted to alter the project slightly, with in hopes of lessening the cost.
“What we’re doing right now is looking at cost. How can we lower the cost of this project and get it under budget?” asked Budget Committee chairman Ken Traub.
Members removed the plans for the dugouts from the main project, and instead added two alternates to be priced-out by the interested contractors. Instead of mandating a particular type of dugout, the contractors will be asked to provide prices for pre-cast and poured-in-place dugouts.
The other four alternates to the design were removed from consideration in the same motion. District Director of Facilities David Bascetta was asked to speak to the contractors after the committee’s deliberations.
The softball field project was originally planned for the 2015-16 fiscal year, as described Wednesday, but was then put off into the current year instead.
Once completed, the new field is expected to include a fence around the playing field, according to Bascetta, a new backstop, new grass, and a regrading of the existing field, which is now set on a slope, among other aspects.
Board members are seeking to undertake the project in response to a Title IX complaint (a landmark federal civil right that prohibits sex discrimination in education), which was dropped after plans for the softball field were shared.
The complaint could also be resolved by moving the home of the boys’ high school baseball team, which plays at Fuessenich Park, board members said Wednesday. Such a move was not considered during the meeting.