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Rocky start for S’ville stadium

Architects say problems with soil testing have delayed Summerville Union High School District’s Measure H-funded stadium project, but that it could still be completed by the next football season.

Mark Damrel and Paul Bunton, representatives from San Jose-based BCA Architects, gave a presentation on the status of the stadium project to trustees at Wednesday’s meeting.

The stadium project, estimated to cost $3.4 million in voter-approved bond money, will include new bleachers, an all-weather track, a turf football field, new lights and a snack shack.

Earlier in the process, engineers from Construction Testing & Engineering Inc. visited the high school campus to test the soil where the stadium’s bleachers will be placed.

The engineering firm said no foundation design was in place for the bleachers when it first prepared the geotechnical report, so engineers did not conduct additional borings to further investigate the area or provide recommendations for the bleacher design.

The bleacher manufacturer, Southern Bleacher, needs a more thorough field investigation and recommendations from the firm to move forward with its drawings.

A bleacher design has already been submitted to the Division of the State Architect to be evaluated for accessibility, structural safety and building code compliance. But Southern Bleacher, the manufacturer that won the bid for the project, has to submit its own design for state approval.

Engineers from Construction Testing & Engineering will return to Summerville High on Friday to complete their field investigation. They are expected to compile an amended soils report and provide design recommendations within two weeks. The engineering firm agreed to reduce the fee for borings conducted Friday.

Trustee Dennis Spisak said the engineers were told what to expect during soil testing and to conduct their tests accordingly.

“Everybody in Tuolumne County knew there was rock out there,” he said. “I don’t like the way they handled it.” 

BCA expects to submit the entire stadium project to the Division of State Architect by the first week in December.

Bunton and Damrel told the board that they believe the stadium can still be completed in time for the next football season if the state reviews the designs quickly.

The firm is also working on snack shack plans, which it will submit to the Tuolumne County Environmental Health Division. BCA said the district needs to confirm the list of equipment, which includes a re-therm oven, hotplates, a microwave, a soda fountain and an ice maker. 

BCA is also obtaining a quote for the design of the stadium’s PA system.

The board on Wednesday gave a nod to planners to move forward with the field design already agreed upon by members of the project’s steering committee. 

BCA Architects and Verde Design of Santa Clara developed the design, along with four alternatives, with guidance from Summerville district staff, Robert E. Boyer Construction of Twain Harte, and community members.

The favored design includes an orange “S” with black piping in the center of the field at a cost of $10,000, and “Bears” written in orange with white piping in each black end-zone at a total cost of $18,000. Without piping, end-zone lettering would cost $15,000 total.

The other four options varied in end-zone colors and whether “Bears” would be printed on the turf. None of the alternatives included the “S” in the center of the field.

“What you’re seeing here is aesthetics,” said Summerville’s maintenance director Warren VanBolt. “The kids aren’t going to play any better with a logo or without a logo.” 

Trustees questioned whether the recommended design fit within the project’s roughly $3.4 million budget, and discussed possible ways to cut costs, such as downsizing the “S.”

“The size really isn’t that relative to the cost because it’s a matter of the labor for them to go out there, cut that and put it in,” said Boyer, whose company was hired to plan bond measure projects.

He also told the board the stadium design isn’t final. Concrete numbers will be provided so that costs can be thoroughly reviewed and upgrades can be cut, if necessary, he said.

VanBolt proposed moving forward with the design supported by the steering committee and trustees concurred.

“To me, it’s easier to have the numbers and whittle them off than it is to keep going back and asking, ‘Well, how much more would it be if we did this?’ ” he said. “I’d rather give it to them and say, ‘I want the Cadillac,’ and drive out with a Volkswagen.”

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