Township leaders will spend $1.1 million for two soccer fields and parking for about 100 vehicles at Veterans Park on Street Road.
But, after action Wednesday night, they may be hard-pressed to get the entire project under budget.
The Board of Supervisors approved a $1,131,154 contract with S & H Landscaping, of Chalfont, for the fields, lights and parking area. Township Engineer Wayne Kiefer said that bid was the lowest of seven, with the highest being close to $1.5 million.
Supervisor Chairwoman Lola Biuckians said she and her colleagues were thrown a “curveball” when they recently learned the bids sought did not cover the entire Veterans Field project and asked Kiefer to explain.
The engineer said township staff decided to seek separate bids for the other work – a concession/restroom building, playground and veterans memorial – because it has a “completely different scope” and would be done by a different type of contractor.
“We did not want to hold up the project,” he added.
Kiefer said after the meeting that the township is estimating the cost of the building at $220,000, the playground at $50,000 and the memorial at $15,000 to $20,000. If those figures turn out to be correct, the project cost would reach $1.4 million.
That is above the amount budgeted – about $1.27 million – something Supervisor Stephen Wallin said he can't abide.
“While I support the soccer club I think we're building a Taj Mahal of soccer fields. … I can't support anything over what we have budgeted,” he said before joining the 4-0 approval of the S&H contract. (Supervisor Marguerite Genesio was absent.)
The township has budgeted $794,900 in general funds and $470,982 in open space funds for the development of the former Shelmire Park site, for a total project cost of $1,265,882.
Biuckians asked how the township might save money on the remaining work.
Township Manager Joe Golden said architectural consultant Jennifer Stark has estimated the cost of the building could be cut by as much as half by having it built from scratch rather than buying a prefabricated structure, as had been planned.
“We could bid it out conventionally,” Golden said.
Kiefer said after the meeting that S&H is expected to start its work right after Memorial Day and finish in the fall.
Golden said the sod fields should be ready to use in about a year.
Supervisor Keith Froggatt said the township may have to rent temporary bathroom facilities for a while.