With bids too high, rented grandstands will be used for fall sports at Port Townsend’s Memorial Field
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Jefferson County employee Glenn Britlaw mows the area in front of the Memorial Field grandstand in Port Townsend on Thursday. Two initial bids for roof replacement were rejected, and the roof will not be fixed in time for the fall season. Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Memorial Field’s grandstand roof won’t be ready for fall sports, but portable grandstands will ensure the field can be used.

Jefferson County Central Services Director Frank Gifford said the two bids received for the work exceeded the engineer’s estimate by too much, and he will meet with Public Works Director Monte Reinders next week to determine next steps and prepare another call for bids.

“We won’t be able to get this done by the time the field is put into use for football and soccer,” Gifford said Thursday.

“Many similar fields throughout the state don’t have a roof structure because they are so expensive to construct and maintain.”

However, the county has secured the rental of portable grandstands for both sides of the field, which is used for football and soccer by the Port Townsend and Chimacum public school districts.

The county had received two responses to a call for bids to repair the grandstand, which was closed in May because of structural weaknesses.

Grant Steel Buildings in Port Townsend bid $882,817. John Lupo Construction in Aberdeen bid $301,930.

Both exceeded the projected $200,000 to $250,000 roof replacement cost.

Grant’s bid also included a $460,850 line item for lead paint stabilization, a process that Gifford determined could be accomplished more economically.

While the grandstand structure is closed, a 32-foot wooden tunnel provides access to the street, bathrooms and locker rooms while providing protection from any item that could accidentally dislodge itself from the grandstand, Gifford said.

The grandstands were closed after an engineer inspecting them in preparation for a bid submission said they should be condemned because they were in immediate danger of falling down.

The city posted a red tag warning on the grandstands.

Gifford said the county received a report from KPFF, a Seattle engineering firm, that found several structural weaknesses in the roof supports but determined they could be repaired and reinforced.

Gifford said there is no doubt the roof needs to be replaced, but it is uncertain whether the supporting structure needs to be replaced or repaired.

The call for bid will include a request to develop both options, he said.

Gifford said some money from a sales tax hike that voters approved in 2010 would be available for the roof repair.

The remainder would originate from donations, grants or moving money from another fund, Gifford said.

“We are open to any fundraising ideas from the community,” he said.

“A few years ago, [East Jefferson Fire-Rescue Commissioner and local contractor] Rich Stapf helped us to install a new sprinkler system and got a lot of support and contributions.

“Any way we can get people to donate, even small amounts like $50 or $100, will be helpful.”

Along with money, donations of building materials would be welcome once the project gets started and a donation process is established, Gifford said.

Proposition 1 raised the Jefferson County sales tax by 0.03 percent to 9 percent — the highest on the North Olympic Peninsula.

The funds were approved for public safety and youth and senior services.

The city of Port Townsend has provided about $212,000 annually from its share of the increase for maintenance and operation of Memorial Field and the Port Townsend Recreation Center, both county-owned facilities that are within the Port Townsend city limit.

That revenue will end in 2015. No substitute funding has been secured.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 31. 2014 8:02PM
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