The Reagan County Board of Trustees approved a bid Thursday from Hellas Construction for a new synthetic sports turf field at James H. Bird Memorial Stadium.
The board received three bids for the project, and accepted the low bid from Hellas Construction, an Austin based company, for $1,134,942.
BTC President Sammy Martin was on hand to present the bids to the board. BTC is the district’s construction manager.
Martin told the board that approval of the bid during Thursday’s  special called meeting would allow the turf to be functionally installed by graduation this May.
Board Member Stephen Dodd pressed Martin on that point stating it is vital the turf be in place for graduation this year as that event is a cornerstone for the community of Big Lake and Reagan County.
Martin said the contract calls for the main portion of the turf to be installed by May 16th (the green portion of the field), and that Hellas Construction will have the option to inlay the features of the field (such as yard lines, out-of-bound lines, endzone art and midfield logo) after school is out.
Martin also noted that BTC does millions of dollars of turf work with Hellas Construction each year, and he will personally see that the turf is installed and ready for use by the May 16th date.
Along with the synthetic turf, BTC presented two add-on options for the field.
One option is Ecotherm infill, which replaces the traditional black crumb rubber with a new technology which promises to cool the field temperature by 20 degrees.
That option would cost the district an additional $130,000.
The other option is Matrix Helix turf, which replaces the traditional synthetic turf with a variation that holds the infill in place better.
That option would cost the district an additional $45,000.
The board did not approve those two options on Thursday, opting to do more research on the two technologies before making their decision.
Superintendent Bobby Fryar said the decision on the Matrix Helix turf would have to happen soon, so the turf could begin manufacturing for Reagan County’s field. The Ecotherm infill decision could happen at a later time since it is not as pressing.
Martin told the board that the new turf will come with a machine to groom the field.
He also noted the turf will have a lifespan of 10 plus years before resurfacing is needed.
He noted the bulk of the $1.1 million price tag at this time goes toward dirt work, drainage and cement work.
The price to resurface the field should run the district around $300,000 when needed in the future.
The board will use money from their fund balance to pay for the turf.
The turf will cap a slew of projects at the football field including new stands (also paid for out of the fund balance), a new field house and weight room (funded through a bond), and a new concession stand (funded through a bond).
Dodd asked Martin if the stands, which cost the district $850,000 through Southern Bleacher Company, will also be ready by graduation.
Martin said BTC does less business with Southern Bleacher, but has it in the contract that the home side stands (which will be flipped to the current away side of the field) will be complete by May 16th as well.
Dodd asked Martin to stress to Southern Bleacher that the board would like to see both sides completed by graduation in May.
Martin said Southern Bleacher will be in Big Lake next week for a meeting, and a clearer picture on the bleacher project time line can be sought.