Construction on a new synthetic turf field at Lakelands Park in Gaithersburg is taking nearly a month longer than anticipated, according to a city official.
The process to install the field began in late June and was scheduled to be completed by Aug. 15. After several construction delays, the work on the field now is expected to wrap up on Sept. 16, said Sean Stevens, project manager for the city’s Department of Public Works.
A grand opening date of Sept. 27 remains unchanged, Stevens said.
Hellas Construction Inc. of Austin, Texas, was awarded a contract by the city in early May to handle the project at the city-owned park, at 1368 Main St. The company is using a type of organic fill for the field called CoolFill, which contains 100 percent organic coconut fibers, rice husk and cork, Stevens said.
One issue that arose during the process of trenching for the perimeter drain system delayed the schedule by 12 days, Stevens said. In this instance, time was needed for the investigation and remediation of a sinkhole area, which had been caused by a previous irrigation piping failure, in order for Hellas to assure the field’s warranty.
Work was pushed back another week to allow Hellas Construction subcontractor Alpine Services Inc. of Gaithersburg to perform additional work to the sub-base.
“The sub-base is the most important part of the synthetic turf field, and for the sake of our investment, it needed to be right,” Stevens wrote in an email to The Gazette.
As a result of the delays, the city will likely negotiate a contract extension to account for some of the lost time. Certain delays, such as the trenching issue, will warrant a contract extension, as it was not the contractor’s fault, Stevens said.
However, it’s possible that not all schedule setbacks will be covered by an extension. Contract provisions allow the city to collect liquidated damages from the contractor if contract duration is not met, Stevens added.
Stevens could not say to what date the acceptable contract duration would be changed.
The project, which also includes a 1,100-foot chain link fence to surround the field, is expected to cost just under $1 million. A 12-year warranty comes with the installation.
Once the field is complete and open, students and teachers from Lakelands Park Middle School will have access to the space as part of a joint-use agreement with the city.
A fee schedule already has been set up for others who will want to rent out the field when it’s finished, according to Jim McGuire, the recreation and park services division chief for the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture.
Residents will be charged $100 per hour and nonresidents will be charged $120 per hour. Commercial vendors within the city will have to pay $160 per hour and vendors outside of the city will pay $185 per hour.