BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater-Raritan board of education voted to spend more money on the new track and field facility that is being repaired at the Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School.
The board voted Aug. 26 to allot additional funding to the project, not to exceed $55,760, primarily to install a fence and a new pit for the long jump track event.
Business administrator Peter Starrs cautioned that the long-jump pit part of the project actually has to go out to bid, as it exceeds the change order threshold. He said later that change orders cannot exceed 20 percent of the awarded bid amount.
The belief, Starrs said, is that the long jump costs will take the district over that amount, which necessitates bidding it separately.
Superintendent Russell Lazovick said that the track and field involves the largest activity at the school. He said the long-jump pit will not be installed in its original area, due to drainage issues.
The track could also be used as a high school training facility, along with a middle school competitive venue, although it is not considered to be up to NJSIAA standards right now.
Board member Jeffrey Brookner asked if the changes should have been detected by engineers working on the project initially. Lazovick said it would be discussed in committee, while Starrs added that allowances have been built in, with monies added to the track project.
“It’s a big expense,” said board member Barry Walker, who chairs the board’s finance, facilities and Ttansportation committee. “It’s a big oversight.”
Lazovick stated that the long jump event is part and parcel of the whole middle school track and field competition.
“It is what it is,” said the superintendent, who later reiterated that the facility is not designed to be used for high school competition.
Starrs said that a cost differential has to be observed, and that the cost of the fence and the long-jump pit in all could cost between $50,000 and $75,000.
Resident J.P. Levin spoke during the public portion of the board meeting that evening, and said that waiting to add the long-jump pit to the track in the years to come could cost even more.
The board has discussed the middle school track and field facility at length on several occasions throughout the past year. In March, total repairs to the track, which was reputed to be in poor shape, were budgeted at about $750,000, which Starrs said at the time was not the final estimate, but would include drainage and re-grading.
The board voted, 6-2, in May for reconstruction work on the dilapidated facility, with a contract going to the Flanagan Contracting Group, Inc., for $458,987. Flanagan was also the vendor listed in the resolution for the additional funding.