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FUHSD awards $2.4 million stadium field contract


Last updated 5/17/2007 at Noon

The Fallbrook Union High School District voted unanimously April 23 to award the bid for the new stadium field surface to Byrom-Davey, Inc.

The Byrom-Davey bid, one of six received by the school district, was for $2,415,232, although that is not necessarily the exact cost of the work which includes new stadium lighting as well as a synthetic surface for the football field and an all-weather track surface.

“We’re very happy to get it,” Byrom-Davey president Joe Byrom said of being awarded the bid for the work.

“I think it’s a positive all around. It affects thousands of kids and community members year after year,” said Fallbrook High School athletic director John Hayek. “It’s a sacrifice financially but well worth it.”

The $2,415,232 amount is that which will be provided to Byrom-Davey, although the expenditures may be reduced. “That was essentially the Cadillac version,” said Chet Gannett, the Fallbrook Union High School District’s assistant superintendent for business services.

Discussions between the school district and Byrom-Davey will determine the exact scope of work, including whether the thickness of the track material will be reduced from six inches to four. The Byrom-Davey bid included an electronic timing system for the track, which the school district might forego, and Gannett believes that the price might be cut by approximately $300,000. “We don’t need to install a $78,000 PA system,” Gannett said.

The Byrom-Davey bid didn’t include the football field surface itself, which will be purchased as part of a statewide bid to take advantage of a quantity discount. “The bid itself was for everything except the material that is going to be used for the actual field itself,” Gannett said.

Gannett cited a $500,000 estimate for the field surface costs. Byrom noted that it was standard procedure for schools to order the surface from Field Turf, which is based in Montreal, through a state contract.

The Byrom-Davey work will include demolition, grading, drainage, and concrete curbs. Byrom-Davey will subcontract some of the work, including the track surface and the lighting, and the bid amount covers the subcontract work.

The total cost will also include inspection and contract administration expenses. Gannett estimates the total costs to be $2,611,000 after the modifications to the scope of work are negotiated.

Several sources of funding will be used to provide the cost of the new surfaces and lighting. State aid for school modernization will cover approximately $1.3 million, one-time revenue providing reimbursement for state-mandated costs from previous years will provide $850,000, developer fees will fund $300,000 of the work, and reserve funds which can only be spent for capital projects will be used for $140,000 of the costs.

Although no money for the field costs is from the Fallbrook Football Boosters or other private sources, the Fallbrook Football Boosters will be providing in-kind contributions. The Fallbrook Football Boosters are also funding a fieldhouse which will be built without the use of any school district funding.

The volunteer effort also includes Fallbrook High School parent and Bonsall resident Robert Turner, whose professional line of work involves such installations. “He’s provided many hours of services working with our staff to ensure that we get the product and the installation done right for the district,” Gannett said.

Byrom-Davey, Inc., was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in the Sabre Springs area of San Diego. Their first surface was the Westview High School football field, which was installed in 2002. Byrom-Davey has installed more than 80 synthetic fields throughout Southern California. The Fallbrook High School field will be the firm’s eighth in the North County Conference, which includes the Valley and Palomar Leagues as well as the Avocado League and totals 19 schools; Byrom-Davey has also installed fields at Mission Hills, Mount Carmel, Poway, Ramona, Rancho Bernardo, and Torrey Pines. Byrom-Davey also installed the fields at Santa Fe Christian in Rancho Santa Fe and at Linfield Christian in Temecula.

In 2004 Byrom-Davey installed the first synthetic softball field in San Diego County, allowing games at La Jolla High School to be played on that surface.

Byrom-Davey has also installed two synthetic fields at the Home Depot Center in Carson, a practice football field and the track stadium infield at the University of Southern California, and the practice field at the San Diego Chargers’ training facility on Murphy Canyon Road in San Diego.

Although Byrom-Davey’s work has been limited to Southern California, the Field Turf surface itself is used by Fallbrook High School graduate Ryan Plackemeier, who is the punter and placekick holder for the Seattle Seahawks. The same product which will be installed in Fallbrook is being used for Seattle’s Qwest Field. “All the NFL fields are now Field Turf,” Byrom said.

Byrom-Davey has a regular crew which performs the prime contractor’s portion of the work, although Summer is a peak period. “Everybody wants to get them started in June right after graduation and finish before the season starts,” Byrom said.

The work includes letting the track surface cure, during which time the football field cannot be accessed since crossing the track would be required. “That’s why you don’t want to take a chance on not being finished,” Byrom said. “You don’t want people walking through it.”

The work on the football field itself takes approximately one month while the track surfacing work covers three to four weeks.

“Three months is fast. Four months is kind of comfortable,” Byrom said of the timetable for the entire project.

Byrom explained that work on the track would not begin unless it could be finished before a football game necessitated crossing that surface.

Fallbrook High School opens its 2007 football season at home August 31 against Point Loma. “The timetable is to get it ready for the first football game August 31,” Hayek said. “Ideally we’d like to have the project finished. Realistically we’d like to have the turf finished.”

The ability to complete the project by that date will depend on delays, but the ability to postpone the track surfacing if necessary will almost certainly allow the football field to be completed by the first home game. “That should be no problem at all,” Byrom said.

If no delays are encountered, the entire field should be ready by August 31. “If everything goes really smooth, it could all be done by then,” Byrom said.

The track will be paved with asphalt prior to the installation of the surface, so if the football season begins before the track is finished the field will be surrounded by black asphalt.

The new lighting will be installed at the same time as the field work. If the track cannot be completed by August 31, work will begin after the end of the football season and the high school soccer teams will play on other fields for the first part of the 2007-08 season.

In addition to football, boys soccer, and girls soccer, the field will be used for field hockey, boys and girls lacrosse, and the field events of track and field meets and practices. The boys and girls cross-country teams will also practice on the track, and the school’s marching band, dance team, and cheer squad will also use the field for practice as well as game performances.

“That’s not even including the community walkers who come out and use the field,” Hayek said.

In addition to community walkers, the field would also be available for youth sports, adult leagues, and camps. “We can use the field all the time,” Gannett said. “We’re not trying to save the field for game days. It’s just going to be available.”

Not only will that make the field available for other organizations, but it will provide the district with an undetermined amount of rental revenue. “It’s a win-win all the way around,” Gannett said.

Gannett compared the future stadium field to the Bob Burton Performing Arts Center at the school. “I think it’s a real benefit for the community,” he said. “Our football field is one of the centers of the community here.”

Gannett also noted the benefits to Fallbrook High School sports other than football which have in the past been relegated to other fields. “The opportunity to have them play in the main district facility, that’s kind of a feather in the cap,” he said.

In addition to the undetermined increased rental revenue, the new field will also result in an undetermined savings of upkeep. “It’s going to save quite a lot in maintenance costs,” Gannett said.

The monetary savings from reduced irrigation will be based on water rates. Gannett noted that some watering would still be required, although for cooling rather than for irrigation. “The material gets quite warm in the Summertime,” he said.

Gannett also noted that the district would save money on fertilizer and reseeding costs as well as on maintenance labor expenses.

“We’re really excited to get the facilities improvement because it’s the right thing to do,” Gannett said.


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