Whitesburg KY

Lack of progress on baseball field angers officials

Education is unhappy with the slow progress of construction of the new baseball field at Letcher County Central High School.

Board Chairman Will Smith said this week that the $1.3 million baseball project is “absolutely the worst project” the board has ever been involved with during his 16 years as a board member.

“I guess I’m not very happy,” Smith told landscape architect Darrell Douglas. “I mean that’s an understatement about our field up there.” Douglas works for Sherman Carter Barnhart PSC, the architecture firm that designed the field.

Smith, speaking at the board’s April meeting Monday night, said school officials are being told that there have been rainy and muddy days that keep pushing back the completion date.

“You drive up there on a dry day and you see five people sitting up there in a trailer with the door open taking a break. I don’t know how many breaks they get,” said Smith. “I’m disappointed when I go up there and see nobody doing anything on a dry day.”

Board member Dr. Sam Quillen Jr. agreed that work by Elliott Contracting has been slow and that workers are placing some of the blame on wet weather.

“They’ve ridden the mud to death. I have been up many times when there was no rain and were sunny nice days and no work going on,” said Quillen.

“I just hope they will get creative enough to come up with a new excuse instead of the same one,” said Smith.

Smith said progress has also been delayed because of missing brackets to the light fixtures and selecting the wrong color for the metal roof for the concession stand.

“We didn’t have the money to really afford a construction manager. Mistake number one,” said Smith. “On smaller projects we have always had an architect that is local and he would provide a service for us. I expected a little more coordination from an architectural firm, a little more oversight. I guess I was expecting too much.”

Douglas said the three-week delay

“I chose terra-cotta as the roof color because that was the color of the school, but it was a different manufacturer,” said Douglas.

“It certainly has delayed things a lot longer than a wet field,” said Smith.

Douglas said the field has been cleared and the field contractor has been called back. It is estimated to take thirty days to complete the baseball field once work starts on the actual field.

“It’s getting to be a joke in Letcher County right now, the baseball field,” said Quillen.

The board had hoped the LCCHS baseball team would get to play a few home games on the new baseball field and board members say that does not look likely. School officials hope the field will be completed by the middle of June.

The baseball team has been playing all of its home games at Skyview Park in Haymond.

The board entered into an agreement with Skyview Recreation Area Inc. for use of the property and grounds at Haymond for the LCCHS baseball team to play its games and hold practices during the regular season. The lease agreement is for one year at a cost of $2,500.

The board approved the following payment of claims for the construction of the LCCHS baseball field: Elliott Contracting, general contractor, $135,722.17.

The board also approved a change order for construction of the LCCHS baseball field in the amount of $28,930.98.

As part of the change order, the board paid $1,987.50 for brick allowance and $298.13 for a 15 percent markup cost. The board paid $483 for additional blocks and $621 for additional brick.

The installation of a scoreboard donated by Kentucky Farm Bureau cost $25,541.35. This includes $5,428.08 for materials, $1,800 for labor, $610 for equipment use, $5,000 for drilling, $5,821.79 for electrical, and $3,331.48 for a 15 percent markup cost.

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