AUBURN, Mass. – The press box planned for Auburn High School's athletic field hit another roadblock Thursday night when a special School Committee meeting called to approve the bid was canceled at the request of the town's Cable Committee.
This is the third time this summer the project has been delayed. A June bid opening drew no takers, and a July bid was rejected. The winning bidder at Wednesday’s bid opening was Quality Contracting Inc. of Worcester with a bid of $138,100 – $82,860 for labor and $55,240 for materials. And it was $83,000 higher than what the Cable Committee expected to spend.
The bid was the lowest of four submitted.
“We need to first regroup and see what we can do to make this happen,” Cable Committee member Joe Hamel said. “We’re looking at trying to cut some things out of the project to bring down the cost. But we haven’t had time to figure out the funding. When we do, then we’ll go to the School Committee for their approval.”
The school district cannot make a bid award until “we’re certain of the funding source,” Superintendent of Schools Maryellen Brunelle said.
“The bid came in much higher than anticipated, so we need time to review the funding,” Brunelle said. “Our goal is to move the project forward, and I’m optimistic it will. I remain optimistic that we will have a press box at Auburn High School.”
Plans call for an 8-by-24-foot press box with wings on either side for camera platforms, in addition to a cupola and a wheelchair lift. The Cable Committee recently compromised with Brunelle on an Oct. 12 completion date. This funding delay “may or may not affect the deadline,” Hamel said.
If the press box was built by Oct. 12, the local cable company would be able to use it to broadcast four live football games this year.