Out with the old
Bid approved for new field house at Sharp Stadium

COVINGTON - After holding out a few weeks to negotiate funding, the new field house project at Sharp Stadium is a go again.

In February, the Newton County School System presented to the Newton County Board of Education a low bid for the project of more than $1 million; however, that bid was about $200,000 more than they anticipated.

Instead of accepting the bid, the school board asked Ray Moore, architect for the project, to try to renegotiate the price. The board also hopes to fund other stadium improvements as part of the SPLOST-funded project and is on a tight budget.

At Tuesday night's work session, Moore brought the board some good news.

"We did work diligently with the contractor (Hobgood Construction Group) - he was very cooperative," Moore said.

He was able to reduce the price by another $205,600, bringing the bid to $873,400.

"It's a pretty reasonable cost," Moore said. "I don't know what else we could do."

He said the changes include not adding a sprinkler system to the building, which is not required by the city of Covington since it is occupied for only a few hours at a time. He said the building has an adequate number of exit doors and fire extinguishers and is a noncombustible building, so he feels it is safe.

The price was enough to convince the board members. They unanimously approved the bid in order for the project to get started as soon as possible this month.

"We appreciate you for going to bat," said board member Cathy Dobbs to Moore. "Thanks for saving us some money."

Moore said the final price of the building could turn out to be lower.

"We will continue to pursue (cuts) that we can find," he told the board.

He planned to issue a contract to the low bidder this week so work could begin this month in order for the building to be ready in time for fall football season. The new field house will include concession stands, locker rooms and storage for all three high schools.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.