The City Council has rejected bids to construct new baseball fields at Brook Run Park, but the project is still expected to be completed by the fall. The rejected bids came in about $3 million more than city’s original estimated cost.
The lowest bid to build two new baseball fields was for slightly more than $7.3 million. The city budgeted $4.3 million to build the fields in an area once belonging to Peachtree Charter Middle School.
Parks and Recreation Director Brent Walker recommended the council reject the bids and allow the city to work with Skyline Engineering, designer of the fields, to come up with a different plan that would be more in line with the city’s budget. The council voted at its May 22 meeting to do so.
Among the reasons given for the amount of the bids were a plan for a new wall along North Peachtree Road to allow a shift in location of the fields for parking along the west side of the property and a detention pond along Barclay Drive to accommodate the artificial turf. Those two items together cost about $1.3 million, Walker said.
The project timeline also was accelerated, which increased the bid price, so the fields could be completed by Sept. 1 to allow Dunwoody Senior Baseball to play fall league games on the new fields, Walker said.
Walker said despite the setback, the fields are still expected to be finished in time for fall league play. City staff is working with Skyline Engineering on the design to find ways to cut costs while keeping the quality of the fields, Walker said.
Dunwoody senior Baseball President Jerry Weiner acknowledged he is “concerned” about the process.
“We are disappointed the bids came in so high,” he said. “We do believe the original time constraints placed on the completion of the fields [added to] that extra cost. We are value-engineering and doing the best to determine what we can do so we can be there by the time our middle school season starts Sept. 1.
“We are also disappointed, however, because it appears we will have to leave [Dunwoody Park fields] before the new fields are done — and that is not what we have been promised by the city. We’re hopeful the city delivers the fields on time. We have a great relationship with the city, but we are concerned.”
The two new baseball fields were part of a deal between the city and the DeKalb County School District that included a land swap. The deal moved the baseball fields to land that had been part of Peachtree Charter Middle School while allowing the school district to build a new 900-seat Austin
Elementary School on land that once belonged to the city as part of Dunwoody Park. The new school is currently slated to open in fall 2019.
The city also gets the property where the current Austin Elementary School stands. The city also received $3.6 million from DeKalb Schools as part of the deal.
The City Council approved adding just over $58,000 to the Skyline Engineering contract for the baseball fields designs, bringing the total amount to $172,365, including a 10 percent contingency fee. The additional money is needed to cover extra hours and extra work needed to design the fields since the contract was awarded in January, Walker said.