Blandon firm gets Muhlenberg field resurfacing contract

District to continue summer food program

MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. - Two athletic fields in the Muhlenberg School District will be resurfaced with artificial turf. The school board voted 5-4 Wednesday evening to award a general contractor's bid to Blandon-based Schlouch Inc. for the resurfacing project.

Board members Cindy Mengle, Randall Madara, Thomas Gross, and Wayne Hardy voted no.

Years of usage and normal wear affected the current soccer field and junior softball field to the point where the artificial turf is the district's best and most cost-effective option.

Schlouch’s bid for the project is $1,691,295.

John Hill of Muhlenberg Greene Architects said the firm searched for a contractor with at least five years of experience installing artificial turf and Schlouch's bid met the agreed qualifications and was the lowest of five contractors.

The Tulpehocken Area School District is one of Schlouch's prior Berks County artificial turf projects.

Hill said the new turf will be a Shaw sports turf product called Spike Zone, which was the lowest cost of seven other considered turf products. He added that the new turf will come with a 10-year warranty and Schlouch will need to subcontract the installation to Shaw.

"Schlouch is an excellent site and civil contractor. Eight-tenths of this project is civil and site work and I believe we have the best contractor in the area to do that. The product’s manufacturer will be installing it as a subcontractor. I believe we can't go wrong with this contractor," said district facilities director Greg Schneider.

Schneider said construction and installation should begin at the beginning of May and conclude July 31, if nothing changes.

Other business

The board voted 7-2 in favor of continuing to host the free summer food program after a heated and contentious debate. The board initially voted no 5-4, but the matter was revisited and reconsidered.

Gross and Madara cast the dissenting votes.

After the initial no vote, board President Otto Voit exhorted the majority to explain why they voted no to the summer food program.

"These are poor kids and you're voting no. They're deserving of a great meal over the summer when they can't get one at home. It's no cost to the district and you’re helping the kids," Voit said.

Board member Mark Nelson originally voted no, but changed his mind and made a motion to reconsider the vote, prompting board members Tony Lupia and Wayne Hardy to also change their votes to yes, continuing the program's hosting duties another year. Nelson said his problem isn’t with hosting the event or feeding the kids, but with the way the state handles and runs the program.

The board will meet in March to discuss the preliminary details for the 2019 budget.

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