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Greater Latrobe district's sports complex expansion slated for vote

| Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, 12:43 a.m.

The Greater Latrobe School Board is expected to award six contracts on Monday for a controversial $9.5 million project to build two multipurpose athletic fields, a field house, bleachers, concession stand and a press box at the junior-senior high school complex.

The bids that were opened on Thursday must be reviewed before the board's meeting to determine the lowest responsible bidder, said Hank Tkacik, a principal at Axis Architecture of North Huntingdon, the school district's architect. Tkacik said he was pleased the district's project drew competition from 44 companies seeking to work on the athletic complex. All phases of the project received multiple bids.

School district officials have estimated the project would cost about $10 million. Work could begin by January and be completed in about 12 months.

The apparent low bidders were:

• General construction: Gurtner Construction Co. of Pittsburgh's West End, $3,699,300.

• Site construction work: Custom Contracting of Acme, $3,592,400.

• Heating, ventilating and air conditioning: Hranec Sheet Metal Inc. of South Union, Fayette County, $238,000.

• Plumbing: W.G. Tomko Inc. of Finleyville, $599,888.

• Electrical work: Allegheny City Electric Inc. of Ross, $1,187,895.

• Bleachers: Dant Clayton Sports Inc. of Louisville, Ky.: $494,494.

The multipurpose facility would include two lighted artificial turf fields to replace the two non-lighted grass fields. The fields will be separated by a new field house with locker rooms, a weight room and meeting rooms. Latrobe's track teams, lacrosse, field hockey, soccer, softball, baseball and football teams can use the fields for practice.

The cross country team will have a new course for running, and the tennis team will get a fifth court so an entire match can be played at the same time.

The project came under fire at the board's October meeting by opponents who questioned why the district would spend close to $10 million on an expanded athletic complex.

Some residents questioned the need for bleachers large enough for 2,000 people when the athletic contests played on the fields typically will not attract that many people. The district plays its varsity football games at Latrobe Memorial Stadium at Legion Keener Park in Latrobe, and the board said it does not plan to move those football games to the high school campus.

Athletic director Mark Mears said the facilities are needed because the district now has 27 teams, up from 12 teams several years ago.

To pay for the project, the school district in March approved a $10 million bond issue. Part of the proceeds will be used for improvements in classroom technology and the expansion of the junior high arts curriculum.

The school district is conducting a fundraising campaign through the Greater Latrobe Partners in Education to help pay for the project.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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