Stadium rehab project approved

With very little discussion at its regular meeting on Monday, the Northgate School Board approved expenditures totaling $1.3 million that will rehabilitate the playing field at Alumni Stadium and turn on the lights for Friday night football.

The Flames have not hosted a night game at the stadium for the past two seasons, ever since the light poles were deemed potentially dangerous and in need of replacement. For the first year, home football games were played on Friday nights at a rented field in North Park. During the second season, after steps were taken to eliminate the problems with the poles, home games were played on Saturday afternoons.

The board sought engineering design and cost estimates for a project that not only would replace the lights at the stadium, but update the transformer that also works in conjunction with the electrical system at the adjacent Bellevue Elementary School. In addition, rehabilitation of the football field itself was deemed necessary. The initial estimate for the project was $1.1 million, although board president Amy Joy Robinson said Monday that the board’s buildings and grounds committee had heard estimates as high as $1.8 million.

The board voted unanimously – with Christine King and John Gratner absent – to award the general construction contract to Yarborough Development, Inc. at a price of $97,211. This will pay for repairs to the maintenance garage and press box, including new drywall and insulation.

The site construction contract went to Palombo Landscaping, Inc. and totals $468,500. This will include site grading, field sod, field irrigation system, the installation of empty conduits across the field and some asphalt work.

The electrical work contract, totaling $760,000, was awarded to Allegheny City Electric. This covers a new transformer for the stadium and elementary school, stadium lighting, a sound system and various electric panels and conduits. An alternative bid that eliminated the stadium lighting came in at $476,000, some $293,000 less. The contract with Allegheny was approved in a 6-1 vote, with Gary Paladin opposed. Paladin said he could not justify the expenditure given the district’s financial problems. Facilities manager Scott Smith told the board that if the lighting system was postponed, the cost would end up being higher because the installation would have to be done from the field side of the property, and would damage the work being done now.

Finally, the board approved an expenditure of $12,500 for a new scoreboard, to be installed by Allegheny City Electric.

Work is expected to be done soon and completed by the time the football season kicks off in the next school year.