City Prepares to Select Contractor To Continue Sports Complex Project

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In a process that has been drawn out over almost seven years, the Tom Bates Regional Sports Complex could take another step toward completion Tuesday afternoon - the deadline for contractors to submit sealed bids for the first half of the project's second phase.

Phase 2-A of the project will convert one of the complex's three grass fields into a softball field, develop a south parking lot, install amenities - including dugouts and drinking fountains - and create ADA-accessible pathways once the city of Berkeley chooses the lowest bidder.

The projected cost for phase 2-A is approximately $853,931, including $600,000 from the College Preparatory School in Oakland which, under an agreement with the city, will partially fund the phase and use field space for its sports program.

The remaining funding will consist of rollover money from the project's first phase and money from Measure WW, a $500 million East Bay Regional Park District bond measure used to fund regional park capital projects.

The closing date for sealed bids had been pushed back three times from its initial July 13 deadline after bidding contractors submitted technical questions dealing with the "nuts and bolts of the project," said Roger Miller, a senior management analyst for the city's Department of Parks, Recreation and Waterfront.

"Dates getting pushed back is a normal part of the bidding process," he said. "There are always extensions based on technical questions that have to be researched by the architect."

Barring unforeseen weather conditions, the city's goal is to complete the project by March 1, the beginning of the 2011 spring baseball and softball seasons, Miller said.

In response to a growing need for regional sports fields, the sports complex located at 400 Gilman St. was built in a joint project by five East Bay cities: Berkeley, Albany, Richmond, El Cerrito and Emeryville.

Phase 1 of the project, completed in September of 2008 at a cost of nearly $7 million, included grading the park land and installing five multi-sport fields - two synthetic, lit fields and three grass, non-lit fields - that accommodate a range of sports, including lacrosse, soccer, rugby and Ultimate Frisbee.

"Since its completion in 2008, field usage has been off the charts," Miller said.

The Albany-Berkeley Soccer Club is one among many sports organizations that utilize the complex's fields. The almost 1,600-player club is approaching nearly 110 teams, according to Club Manager Steven Morrison. While the complex fields have served the club well, local teams could still benefit from having more soccer-specific fields, Morrison said.

"The fields have been really useful," he said. "However, we're still short on fields. Now they're going to start constructing (a softball field) where one of the grass soccer fields is, and we're definitely going to feel it."

The city is currently working to secure funding for phase 2-B of the project which will construct a baseball diamond, a second softball field and a field house, according to Mayor Tom Bates.

"People are playing at the fields night and day," Bates said. "It's fulfilled all of my dreams. What we wanted was a place for kids and adults to play. Now they have a wonderful, state-of-the-art field that has more than exceeded my expectations."

Tags: EAST BAY REGIONAL PARK DISTRICT, TOM BATES, TOM BATES REGIONAL SPORTS COMPLEX, ALBANY-BERKELEY SOCCER CLUB, COLLEGE PREPARATORY SCHOOL, MAYOR TOM BATES


Contact Aaida Samad at [email protected]



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