PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles School District has for the second time put out to bid construction of the Monroe Athletic Field on the site of the former Monroe Elementary School.
Budgeted at $1.58 million, design plans for the project at the 6-acre site show a multi-use field for football, soccer and softball; a practice/warm-up area; bleachers; grass viewing areas; and a quarter-mile walking path. Lights, restrooms and a concession stand are planned down the road.
Funding for the project comes from the $52.6 million capital projects levy voters approved in 2020 and from the sale of the district’s former administration building at 216 E. Fourth St. to Olympic Medical Center in February 2022 for $950,0000.
“We anticipated finishing the drawings, putting the project out to bid, and having several bidding firms to have a comprehensive look at the Monroe fields,” Brewer said. “We ended up with one bidder, but it was a very high bid based on what we felt our project estimation was based.”
So, the district rethought its process.
“We took that one comprehensive bid package and broke it into two packages,” Brewer said. “One package is the site work, the civil side of the work. We know that we have many, many local subcontractors that have the capacity to do that kind of work.”
“The other part of the package is the installation of the turf field. That’s more technical and there’s only a few contractors across the state of Washington that actually do that side of the work.”
The range for the base bid is $440,000 to $465,000 for work that includes earthwork, demolition, asphalt paving, irrigation and planting.
With the delay, the completion date for the fields was pushed back from September 2022 to September 2023.
“The board, the superintendent, this administrative team, we’re very conscious of our costs associated to doing this work and appreciative of the community standing up to say this is what we want in our community,” Brewer said.
“And we’re going to care for their tax dollars and get the best deal that we can based on the current cost that it takes to do this type of work.”
The bidding process for the turf installation will open when site work is completed. Plans for the field originally called for grass, however a district cost assessment in 2021 determined that although the upfront cost for turf was greater, it would save about $160,000 over a 15-year period due to, among other things, lower maintenance demands. It also would be more durable and permit year-round use of the field.
Planning and design for the expansion and renovation of Stevens Middle School that was included in the 2020 capital levy is already underway. That project includes new athletic fields and courts, as well.
If taxpayers are wondering why they haven’t seen shovels hit the dirt at Stevens, it’s because the district must collect all of the levy funds before it can start construction.
“To be able to secure a contractor, state law requires us to have the capacity in our budget to retain the contract,” Brewer said. “We have to have those funds secured first.”
In 2025, the district will have collected all of the levy funds, levy tax collection will end and construction on Stevens will begin. The timeline for completion is the summer of 2028.
The 2020 capital levy approved by voters added $2.62 to every $1,000 of assessed value to property for five years. Since the levy is for a fixed dollar amount ($52.6 million), the district cannot collect more money if property values increase.
In addition to the Monroe athletic field and the Stevens Middle School upgrade, the 2020 capital levy also targeted installing safety vestibules that create a single point of secured entry at all five district elementary schools — a project that was completed in 2020.
Instead of renewing the capital levy in 2025, the district will put before voters a bond measure to replace Port Angeles High School and Franklin Elementary School. Unlike levy funds, the money generated by the bond could be used immediately for construction.
The bid can be found on the district’s website: tinyurl.com/ytxj2rzv.
Paula Hunt can be reached at 360-425-2345, ext. 50583, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.