Early this week good government circles were buzzing here after the Bay-Waveland School Board meeting and the disclosures that were made regarding the renovations to Bay High Stadium. I pass the field several times daily and noticed the dirt heaps with no activity for weeks. Thanks to an Hancock County Alliance for Good Government email blast and Dwayne Bremer’s account of the meeting for the Seacoast Echo I have a few things to point out and highlight. This is from Dwayne’s story:
Architect Taylor Guild said problems with the field began because of wet conditions and the water table underneath the field……….
“The excavated soil was wet,” Guild said. “It went from bad to worse.”
Guild suggested a change order to the project, which he said will allow the contractor to finish the field in time for Bay High’s first scheduled home game on Aug. 29.
Guild suggested excavating another 12 inches of soil, overlaying that with cloth and sand, and then adding 12 inches of crushed limestone on top before covering it with the artificial turf……
The school board ultimately approved the change order, but asked why soil samples were not taken before construction began.
No soil samples????? If I had a client of mine tell me such a tale my immediate reaction would be something like “Oh My!!!!” “Hmmmm!!!!” After hearing of the disaster first hand here is the word used by the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government:
inability to do something successfully; ineptitude.
I think I agree. Who is minding the store? No one evidently.
The first clue as to the high water table could have easily been discerned with the first shovel of dirt. I planted a few things about the same time here in Bay St Louis not more than a half mile from the field and I knew from the first shovel full of sandy soil that we have us one heck of a water table over here in the Bay. Then again the gang could have paid a professional to sample to heck outta the field for under $1,000 but now the bill will approach 6 figures for a fix that Lana Noonan of the Alliance for Good Government indicates to Slabbed may not even work per the ensuing discussion at the school board meeting.
The new stands were needed as the old ones were very outdated. That said I question the expense of installing artificial turf at a high school football stadium. Yes, I know it is all the rage in south Mississippi High School Football circles but it is also expensive. I remember the field at Bay High being in good shape for the MSHSAA’s South State soccer championship game late last winter. I sense we have some keeping up with the Jones at play here which is easy to do when you get to spend other people’s money. Maybe I’m just a hopeless natural grass purist.
In any event I think it is clear from the email blast that Lana Noonan of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government is fired up over the disaster. A little public outrage is good for the body politic to boot. Following is the text of the email blast:
Once again, the kids get to suffer for what is in my mind, total incompetence on the part of the Bay-Waveland School District Administration.
The District contracted with Eley Guild Hardy Architectural Firm to design and oversee the installation of artificial turf for the Bay High Football Field. Here we are with the first home game scheduled for August 25, and the entire field has been bulldozed, and work has stopped on the project because no soil testing was done prior to beginning installation. You don’t even want to know what these architects have been and are still being paid.
At last night’s School Board meeting, it was revealed that work had stopped on this project on June 17, and no one informed the Administration or Board until July 7. That is 20 days. What was our Project Manager, Brad Barlow, doing with his time? Granted, Eley Guild Hardy was hired to manage all this, but maybe Superintendent Rebecca Ladner and Project Manager Brad Barlow could have ridden by occasionally to check on the project knowing that the beginning of school was imminent. We are supposed to believe all this. I am now being told this morning by a parent who spoke to Superintendent Ladner about this project on June 21, that she knew it then. In the era of electronic communication, she never thought to email the Board Members and inform them that work had stopped?
The price tag for this project is now at $94,940.00. Now the soil testing begins, and the laying of limestone, sand and labor, all in a letter read aloud last night by Board member Mike Benvenutti, who said the last paragraph was troublesome since the engineer who wrote the letter said in closing that he couldn’t guarantee the work would hold up. One retiree in this field of work told me this morning you can add another $80,000 to the job now just for the limestone depending on how deep they have to lay it.
While all of this is important and represents a rip off of the taxpayers, the loss to the kids in football,soccer, and band is the most offensive. Did our seniors on the football,soccer, and band play their last home games last year?
One administrator, Assistant Superintendent Rusty Dempsey, got upset with me for asking questions. It is no secret that he could probably care less about this since his employment here for over 5 years, he hasn’t shown any interest in this community except for a paycheck. He lives in New Orleans and drives over here everyday in a car that I presume has a Louisiana tag. Add to him 5 more administrators who live out of district.
As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, this same architectural firm has the entire parking lot at the high school dug up and now there has to be a plan devised to get the students and teachers in the building. You guessed–no soil testing.
Now the School Board is holding some feet to the fire which at this juncture will no doubt result in a hurry up job that will cost all of us even more down the road!!!
Who do we run off first–the architects, the administration, who?
There is only one explanation for and definition of the foregoing–INCOMPETENCE, and at a VERY HIGH PRICE!!$$$$$$$
Chairman, Hancock County Alliance for Good Government
In other news, despite the school board election in Waveland being 10 or so months away, Slabbed has been told that School Board President Sherry Ponder has drawn an opponent. I hope to have more on that topic down the line. Stay tuned.