The Soldotna High School track and artificial turf field will be completed this year.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly appropriated funds to finish the project during its Tuesday meeting.
From the borough’s general fund, the assembly appropriated $135,000. The assembly also redirected $165,000 from other school capital projects to the turf project.
Borough Mayor Mike Navarre said the turf field has already been ordered and with the site work underway, the track is the last piece to be ordered.
“We need to order (the track) this week in order to move forward,” Navarre said.
He said if the funds weren’t approved the site work, field portion and probably the base work for the track would be complete this year. Because the field and track are from the same company, holding the track until next year would create additional delivery costs. He said costs would be “exponentially higher to delay the project.”
“I won’t oppose it simply because of cost benefit analysis of it,” assembly member Wayne Ogle said. “… We’re down the road. And not doing it would present more problems than doing it, but I sure hope in the future we have our funds lined up a little bit better.”
The borough received one bid for phase one work — removing the existing track and grass field and base construction for the turf. It awarded the bid to South Central Construction for more than $1.3 million.
Site construction began on the field in mid-April.
Navarre said the reason the project needed additional money is because the bid estimate was $200,000 more than the engineer’s estimate.
“The fact of the matter is based on our estimates we thought we would have adequate funds available when the bids came in for the site work they were higher than what was anticipated and the result is that we were short in the project,” Navarre said.
However, Chief of Staff Paul Ostrander said in a previous Clarion interview that the borough received less money for the than it had expected.
He said the borough had anticipated receiving a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Soccer Foundation, but the grant was not awarded.
Navarre said because of silt in the soil and a bury pit, crews had to do additional excavation at SoHi.
The borough has approached the City of Soldotna about appropriating some money for the project, and Navarre said the administration is “cautiously optimistic” the city will approve money for the project.
The Soldotna City Council next meets on May 14. If it does appropriate funds, the money expended from the general fund would be reimbursed, Navarre said.
The assembly unanimously approved the project.
The total cost of the project is about $2.7 million. The state granted money to the project in 2012 and 2013. The Kenai Central High School track and turf field project was completed last year and construction on the Homer High School turf project is slated to begin later this month.
The next assembly meeting is 6 p.m. on May 20 in Soldotna.
Kaylee Osowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.