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Southmoreland's Russ Grimm Field process updated

| Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:50 p.m.

Southmoreland School Directors heard an update on the plan to refurbish Russ Grimm Field at their Jan. 9 meeting.

Heavy rain in August destroyed the field, which was not able to be used for fall sports and other various activities for which it is typically utilized.

Mark Scheller, of the Eckles Group of New Castle, is the lead architect on the project. He provided the update at the meeting.

A complete replacement of the field turf surface will be necessary. Insurance will pick up the tab, minus a $25,000 deductible.

“The desire is to put a new turf system on top of the existing gravel and on top of the existing drainage system,” Scheller said. “The gravel that is in place right now as well as the drainage system and its connection to the storm system is all in good shape. It was not sacrificed during the flooding....Our (goal) is to reuse as much as possible on the field to save money and then make improvements with the installation this go around.”

One alteration Scheller said is being recommended is the installation of a concrete perimeter system.

“Many of the people we've talked to said if concrete was used originally, the water would roll over the field and then dissipate,” Scheller said. “It really wouldn't have torn any of the field out.”

Another move Scheller discussed is “raising the field” an additional 6 inches, which would provide an additional measure of preventing water from overflowing and eventually coming onto the field.

This will result in the need for some new fencing around the field.

Scheller further stressed the existing stream and existing piping is to be maintained and protected during construction.

“Any damage to that really is not expected or desirable, but (contractors) will certainly be made to replace that at their cost if any damage occurs, but we don't foresee that happening,” Scheller said.

To provide flexibility to the board as it votes to award a contract for the work, perspective contractors will be asked to provide bids for two different types of surfaces, one of which would be a higher grade than the other.

“We want to make sure that we give you a price on both of those and then give you the decision to select either one that meets your needs,” Scheller said. “That's a scenario that gives the school board (and) the administration the potential to evaluate each of the turf systems, see what they like, see what they don't like, then also evaluate the cost.”

Companies submitting bids will make their presentations at a public meeting.

Superintendent John Molnar said at the Jan. 2 meeting he had hoped to see the bid awarded in February with the field being ready to go by May.

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or

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