Baraboo School Board scales back tennis court project, approves construction bid

May 24, 2018 GMT

The Baraboo School Board scaled back its plan to build new tennis courts after an initial construction bid came back significantly higher than expected.

The project will still include the construction of eight new tennis courts between Baraboo High School and Jack Young Middle School, but won’t include new lights and fixtures. The board approved a $332,000 bid to build the new courts Monday from D.L. Gasser Construction.

“Underneath this bid, we would keep the lights on the west side of the tennis courts, which would still illuminate two of the courts,” said Baraboo School Board member Mike Kohlman, adding that the lights on the east side will be removed to make room for the new courts. “That’s about $54,000 less than our official estimate and our initial request.”

Board members have discussed several strategies to repair the Baraboo School District’s tennis courts since July. The courts between Jack Young Middle School and Baraboo High School are becoming unusable, as two of the six courts are in disrepair, and the remaining four are deteriorating.

The board agreed in September to pay MSA Professional Services $2,500 to examine the location, and set aside an additional $2,500 to evaluate soil conditions around the courts. MSA also provided cost estimates for several options the district could take to repair the courts or construct new ones.

The board opted to repair and expand the existing site to a total of eight courts. The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association requires that many to host postseason events. MSA estimated the project would cost about $375,000.

Last week, the board the board discussed an initial bid from Gasser Construction that came in at $640,000. The unexpected price led school leaders to re-examine the project’s scale.

“One of the most significant overages was lights,” Kohlman said. “It caused us to ask the question, ‘Are lights used for our competitions?’ and the feedback is no.”

Kohlman said additional savings came from choosing a different court finishing coat than what was included in the first bid. Other board members asked if the product would sacrifice quality for savings. While significantly less expensive, Kohlman said project leaders have heard positive feedback from local municipalities that finished tennis courts with the same product.

“MSA called several locations that used the product that we ended up using here, and everyone was very satisfied with it,” he said. “They said it should last four to five years, and it’s half the price of the stuff that was used in the initial bid.”

The board approved a loan from Baraboo State Bank to finance the project in February. Baraboo School District Administrator Lori Mueller said project managers plan to begin construction in June and complete the new tennis courts before September.