PNG signs contract with AstroTurf for ball fields

Published 7:25 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2016

GROVES — The wheels are officially in motion to upgrade the baseball and softball fields at Port Neches-Groves High School.

Trustees unanimously approved entering into a contract with AstroTurf for renovations at the baseball and softball complex during a recent board meeting.

A budget amendment was also approved for an amount not to exceed $1.8 million. The contract is contingent on further negotiations with Jeff Bergeron, director of maintenance. The money will come from the district’s self-funded workman’s comp fund and some from fund balance. The workman’s comp fund will still have about $500,000 left, according to information at the meeting.

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PN-GISD Superintendent Rodney Cavness said it has been 30 years since the fields have had any money put into them.

“We had a situation last year where Coach (Scott) Carter and the boy’s baseball team went to three or four places before they were able to find a place to play and beat the rain,” Cavness said. “It’s tough for me any time I see a bus on the road. It’s hard for me to see.”

Cavness was principal at West Brook High School in Beaumont in 2006 when a charter bus carrying the girl’s soccer team to a playoff game toppled over trying to avoid debris killing two students and injuring 20 others.

Cavness explained that placing turf on the fields is an investment for the district.

“Of course our main focus in our school district is academics but extracurricular activities are important to our parents and kids and we want as many kids participating as we can,” he said. “It typically rains all January and baseball and softball start in the spring. We want our kids to be able to compete in the highest level and if they can’t practice they can’t compete. These turf fields are literally weather proof.”

Cavness said there is an initial cost up front for the turf and associated work but the turf will free up the maintenance and lawn care staff so they can focus on other projects.

The upgrades are actually a multi-fold project. First comes the curbs, subsurface and turf work. Other phases include covering the bleachers, upgrading the restrooms and concrete and fence work.

Bergeron told trustees of his conversations and research between AstroTurf and Hellas. A geo tech survey was performed on the soil last week and the info was then made available to the companies so as to formulate their bids.

The district is hoping for a 90-day turnaround on the project so the fields will be available for the spring.

Mary Meaux: 409-721-2429

Twitter: @MaryMeauxPANews