The original proposal from Gallagher Construction to add to the Sulphur Springs High School tennis court was scrapped Monday night in favor of drawing up a new proposal which is expected to ultimately cost significantly less and could include more courts.
Sulphur Springs Independent School District Board of Trustees, a few months ago, tabled the proposal, opting to go back and look at pricing after the quoted amount ended up being “about double” original amounts discussed for the project to add courts and a building to the tennis complex.
Superintendent Michael Lamb said when officials asked why the amount was so much larger than anticipated, they were told it was due to “bad soil and drainage.” School officials spent several months working with builders and architects on designs and plans, rebid some of the items, but the final result was that the cost was reduced only minimally.
“Through this, we found a different architect in the process. We’re not saying this one is bad. We’ve found it’s different what Dallas wants to do and East Texas wants to do. They knew immediately what we want to do for the soil in the area. We are excited. We think we’ve found the right team,” Lamb said.
That process involved a recommendation for a different plan for the complex, which would utilize the existing building by the track, rework it a little bit to make it suitable for both track and tennis, and add tennis courts closer to the track. This would allow additional courts and, if costs come in as initially projected, would cost significantly less — maybe half as much — as the initial proposal submitted to the board following bids a few months back.
So, Lamb recommended trustees terminate the original project, have a new plan drafted by a different architect and come back at a future date with a proposal reflecting that plan.
“So, what you’re saying is, if we do away with this one and go with a new proposal, we can get eight new courts instead of four?” SSISD trustee Jason Dietze asked Lamb during Monday night’s school board meeting.
"The sky’s the limit. Yes, that’s possible. There are four or five different things that we can possibly do. Talking with these guys, we could easily build eight courts and do a little remodeling to the track building and at half the cost. In the end, we think this new direction will be a real good plan,” Lamb said.
“So essentially, we will rebid the project, revamping it, but not do away with the tennis complex project. That’s what we’re looking at?” asked SSISD board President Kerry Wright.
“Yes, we’re recommending you vote no to the original proposal for the tennis project, then go in this new direction,” Lamb said.
The school trustees unanimously vetoed Gallagher Construction’s proposal for the SSHS tennis construction project. Officials will continue to work up a new plan, with bids to be sought and the proposal to be submitted for approval at a future school board meeting.
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