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Mount Greylock School Committee Commits to Athletic Field Improvements
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:23AM / Friday, July 09, 2021
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee on Thursday voted to accept the low bid for a contract to make gender equity and accessibility improvements to the middle-high school playing fields after the bidder agreed to trim the project by $93,500.
Last week, the school district opened two bids for work to bring the school's ball fields into compliance with the Americans with Disability Act and Title IX. But the School Committee balked at a bottom line that was 22 percent above the architect's estimate.
Art Eddy of Traverse Landscape Architects and administrators of the school spent the last few days looking for ways to scale back the project and asking the two bidders about the cost savings that could be realized through the cuts.
HM Nunes & Son Construction was the low bidder with a bid of $1.33 million, or $1.36 million with a $25,000 "add alternate" that was included in the project specs. It was the only one of the two bidders to respond to the district's request to price out "value engineering" items.
After making five deductions with a combined price of $93,500, HM Nunes' final base bid ended up at $1,237,500, $150,474 (or 14 percent) above the estimate.
The school administration recommended that the School Committee accept that base bid plus $25,000 for the add alternate, installation of new backstops on the junior varsity softball and baseball fields.
The items that were cut from the project for cost included: athletic litter/recycling containers ($14,500), 6-foot storage closets in the dugouts ($27,000), two "bat box cubbies" for the dugouts ($15,000), sand lateral drain from the varsity softball field ($13,000) and sand bedding under the softball field ($24,000).
"The recommendations we made this afternoon were based on what we knew about each of these potential deductions, what kind of reduction in price that would produce and what it would cost to do it at a later date if we chose to do that," Business Administrator Joe Bergeron told the committee.
"As we walked through it, we felt like [these] were the deductions that made the most sense."
Bergeron said that conversation included the school's athletic director, director of buildings and grounds, director of operations and other relevant staff.
After Eddy presented the proposed deductions and a brief discussion among committee members, they voted 7-0 to accept the administration's recommendation and award the contract with the proposed cuts.
Among 11 potential deductions that HM Nunes priced out was the removal of "2-inch sand lateral drain and 8-inch HDPE perimeter drain" at the junior varsity softball field, a potential $34,000 savings. In light of the recommendation to include the drainage on the JV baseball field and deduct it from the scope of softball field work, Julia Bowen asked about conditions on the fields today following this week's rains.
"We went out there this afternoon," Bergeron said. "There was no standing water on the future varsity softball field [the current JV softball field]. The JV baseball field had three ducks on it mid-day.
"That is an anecdotal point, but it's part of a larger conversation the [administrative] team has had about where the value lies in adding drainage."
Bowen also asked about the removal of storage and bat cubbies from the project and how that will impact the teams.
Bergeron said the administration's recommendation is that it can pursue other forms of storage at the field site.
"We all said we could figure out storage that would cost significantly less than $27,000,"  Bergeron said. "In terms of the bat box cubbies, there are lower-cost, after-market items we could use."
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