WHS Stadium Bidders Selected
|Wasatch School District’s ongoing process to improve the school infrastructure took another step forward this week when Francis Harrison, Maintenance and Construction Supervisor, presented the school board with a list of five pre-qualified construction companies who desire to bid on the WHS football stadium project, which includes an 8 lane track.
“This process insures that we deal with companies that have the expertise we need and also insures that they are financially in a position to complete the project,” said Mr. Harrison. The five pre-qualified bidders are Bud Mahas Construction, Hogan & Associates Construction, Hughes General Contractors, Jacobsen Construction, and Layton Construction.
Anticipating that the time would come when the stadium would need to be rebuilt, the school district administration has been saving money for a number of years to cover the costs of the stadium. No bond will need to be issued to cover this cost, since the needed money is already in the school district capital fund. In addition, the continued economic slowdown has reduced construction prices making this an advantageous time to put projects out to bid.
The bids submitted by the interested parties will be discussed in the February school board meeting and a contractor will be selected. This project is scheduled to be completed by July 31st. When asked if the board has made plans for cost overruns on this project, school board president Ann Horner assured the public that this is a firm bid, not a design/build project. The price bid will be the price paid, and if the price bid is over-budget, the bid will be rejected and the project will be redesigned and rebid.
Architects from VCBO Architecture of Salt Lake City have been working on this project for the past few months, along with a committee selected by the school board which includes administrators from the high school, a local engineer, and other residents of Wasatch County. Reports have been provided to the school board and the public during regularly scheduled and announced school board meetings.
“Why is this the first that we are hearing about this stadium?” asked one local participant in last week’s school board. Several school board members expressed surprise that this was the first she had heard about the stadium since numerous opportunities have been provided for citizens to become informed. Articles have been published in the Wasatch Wave and have been posted on line at the school district website at www.wasatch.edu. In addition, public notice has been provided about each of the board meetings where the stadium project has been discussed.
The school board noted that the existing track is inadequate to host a region track meet. The school board also discussed the fact that the existing stadium presents a hazard because individuals can fall between the benches, through the supports and to the ground. The district has already been required to pay for medical costs to patrons who have been injured in this manner.
Another local resident asked how much money the district spent covering those medical costs. It was reported that the actual figures were not available, nor could the district give that type of settlement information out since that was confidential information which was handled by Risk Management at the state level. The citizen then expressed her opinion that it would be much more cost effective for the school district to continue to pay for the medical expenses of those who may be injured rather than spend a much larger amount to make the stadium safer.
The school board expressed their concern that they could not make such a decision based simply on the cost. The safety of the participants in school activities is always a top priority that cannot be measured simply in the “cheapest” way that they can get by.
“Rest assured that we are watching the costs on this project,” said School Board President Ann Horner after the meeting, “but our responsibility is to provide a safe environment for those who participate in school activities. To intentionally do otherwise would be unthinkable.”
BY JOHN MOSS