December 11, 2012

Dalton High project to cost at least $1M

By Christopher Smith

— The final price tag isn’t definite, but a project for a new synthetic field, as well as a track, that school officials hope to install at Dalton High School next year is now expected to cost more than $1 million.

The estimate for the 90,600-square-foot field is $612,752. A bid of $484,760 for the track around the field was provided to Dalton Board of Education members during Monday night’s meeting.

Board members voted on Oct. 15 to let Shaw Sports Turf replace Dalton High’s grass practice field with the new field, while allowing Shaw to subcontract out the track project. Shaw Sports is acting as a construction manager at-risk (“CM At-Risk”) and has the final say on what companies will be part of the project, said Shaw officials.

“Basically, we sent out the track bid to five companies,” Jim Watts, project manager with Shaw Sports, said. “A few responded: Mitchell Contracting, Competition Athletic, Sports Turf and Beynon Sports (Surfaces). We’re going to move forward with Beynon to be the track provider.”

Beynon Sports Surfaces is a track manufacturer owned by Maryland-based Tarkett Sports, said its website. Mitchell Contracting is expected to help in “event areas construction,” according to a field budget provided by the school system.

School officials are also discussing expansions to Dalton Middle School in 2014.

“We’re looking at adding about 10 classrooms to the school,” Craig Harper, chief administrative officer for the school system, said. “We’re also looking to expand our cafeteria and a few other things. The classrooms will also have the ability to be converted to a ‘black box’ theater down the road if we have a drop in student population. Right now, though, we need the space.”

Buckley and Associates, the architectural firm that works for the school system, is in the design phase of the Dalton Middle project.

“We are working on preliminary drawings right now,” Greg Smith, firm manager, said. “We advise (school officials) to do what they have done with the field and track project by selecting another CM At-Risk. It’s not always the lowest price, but it is the best value. CM At-Risks allow you to voice your opinion a little more ... you can let them on the team during the design process and they can help decide what’s suitable for the project.”

Superintendent Jim Hawkins said he prefers construction managers at-risk over “competitive low-bid-take-all negotiations.”

“I do not want the board to act as the general contractor,” Hawkins said of the track project. “No single local business can do all of the (renovations). I want to go with one company to do it all because I want to avoid finger pointing if something were to go wrong. We will get an umbrella that’s accountable for the entire project.”

School officials also recognized board member Mark Orr for 15 years of service on the board, school spokeswoman Pat Holloway for receiving the Gold Award of Excellence from the Georgia School Public Relations Association, the Dalton High cheerleader squad for placing sixth in state competitions, and the Dalton High football team for placing in the final 16 in state competition.