Highlands school board approves turf, track for Golden Rams Stadium
Highlands School Board voted on Monday to spend a little more than $600,000 to replace the track and football field at Golden Rams Stadium.
Ernie Graham of ELA Sports, a consulting firm hired by the board to draw up the specifications and handle the request for proposals, said the low bidder was FieldTurf.
The base bid was $564,200 and includes both the track installation and the installation of the artificial field surface.
Graham said an alternate bid of $40,000 would cover the cost of replacing the goalposts, which have tilted, and replacing the high jump pit and fixing its drainage, removing the pole vault runway and putting a district logo in the middle of the field.
Both the base and the alternate were approved by a 7-2 vote with board members Mike Masarik and Debbie Beale voting against the proposal.
Both favored spending an additional $6,600 to line the field for soccer as well as football, but the board rejected that idea.
Board member Ron Lang said, “I don't think there is enough time (available) on the field to have soccer. We don't have another facility for the football team to practice.”
He said that between the games and practices for the different levels of the football program and practices for the marching band, it would be too hard to fit soccer into the field schedule.
Beale said she talked to Athletic Director Matt Bonislawski about that and he told her that the field could accommodate soccer. Bonislawski did not attend the meeting.
There also was the issue of graduation, which — if the weather is nice — will be held in the stadium, and there was concern that the stadium work would conflict with commencement.
Graham said the construction crew would be ready to start May 19, but that date is negotiable. He said the construction schedule from start to finish would be 50 days.
Graham said the field would be done before graduation on June 6.
“We can hold off starting the track until after graduation,” Graham said.
Superintendent Michael Bjalobok said the district can use Staresinic Stadium for commencement if the construction work becomes a problem.
Graham said if the board decided to wait until after graduation to begin the work, it could run up against the start of football in August.
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.