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Southmoreland board agrees to $563K contract to repair Russ Grimm Field

| Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, 12:56 a.m.
Lori C. Padilla | for the Daily Courier
Preparing for delivery on Valentine's Day today, Tony Grasso of The Grasso Greenhouses displays some of the most popular flowers for the holiday, long-stemmed red roses, the red color representing love and devotion.
Lori C. Padilla | for the Daily Courier
Valentine's Day is a busy time for Connellsville DQ Grill & Chill cake decorator Debbie Hough as ice cream cakes and sundae cups are popular gifts for the lovers' holiday.

A contract has been awarded, and the process to replace Russ Grimm Field can begin.

Southmoreland School Board directors voted on Thursday on a contract that involves $555,000 for a turf surface supplied by Shaw Sports Turf of Pittsburgh, to be installed by Vasco Asphalt of Massillon, Ohio; $1,000 for digging a trench and placing a gravel base to allow for the installation of Jersey barriers to help divert water; and $7,000 for an electrical conduit to run under the surface, which will bring power to the scoreboard side of the field for the permanent installation of 25-second play clocks and other various items that might need power.

Insurance will cover $448,557 of the $563,000, leaving $114,443 to be picked up by the district.

However, Don Defurio of Defurio, Mongell and Associates, the district's insurance carrier, said he is working to reduce that number.

“We are on top of this, and we'll do everything we can to make it better for the school,” Defurio told the board on Thursday.

Superintendent John Molnar said the money the district will have to pay could be covered by a bond refinancing.

“We're going to recoup about $501,000 if we do a single bond issue,” Molnar said after the meeting. “Capital improvements are an allowable expense, so that's an option the board has.”

Torrential storms in August destroyed Russ Grimm Field, rendering it unusable for fall sports and other activities. A complete replacement of the field turf surface, which was installed in 2006, is necessary.

The motion passed on a 7-1 vote with School Director Ken Alt voting against it. School Director Aimee Love was not in attendance.

“I'm a sports guy, but in good conscience I can't vote for it,” Alt said.

Shaw Sports was one of six companies that presented bids for the new surface, each of which made their sales pitches at a public forum on Tuesday in the middle school library. Area high schools whose fields the company has been involved with include Thomas Jefferson, Penn-Trafford, Norwin and Gateway, as well as seven National Football League teams.

Mark Scheller of Eckels Group, architect of the project, told the board that there were features of what Shaw offered that he believes were right for the new surface.

These include a blended fiber and a surface that is a mixture of 30 percent sand and 70 percent rubber.

“The strand is much better, increasing the safety factor of the turf,” Scheller said of the blended fiber. “It's more durable. It's going to allow for longer use of that field.”

Having sand in the turf surface also helps the field's durability, he said.

Molnar believes the district was in a good place with the project, even though it could have to pick up the tab for about $100,000.

He explained that these turf surfaces last for only about 10 years and the district was only a few years away from needing a new field, which would have carried a price tag of about $500,000 to $600,000.

“In 2016 or (2017), the district would have to expend ($500,000) or $600,000 to replace that turf,” Molnar said, adding that the district would have to pay only about $100,000 or so for a field that should last until about 2025.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the district,” Scheller said.

The district's hope is that the field will be completed and ready for use by May 23 — something Shaw and all of the companies involved in the bidding process said they would be able to handle.

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

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