Municipal officials have approved a nearly $500,000 contract to begin the $1.6 million renovation of the Bauerle Fieldhouse.
Ridgewood-based Practical LLC was awarded a $496,000 contract on Tuesday for phase one of the project.
“This phase is just interior demo, prep work, and the entire exterior enclosure of the building,” said municipal engineer Fred Margron last week. He said phase one includes interior demolition, new doors, new windows, new roof, new parapet wall to protect the roof, and preparation for phase two such as electrical and carpentry work.
Five firms submitted bids ranging from $240,000 to $824,000 for the work. Municipal officials deemed Practical to be the “lowest responsible bidder.” The firm submitted the second lowest bid for the work. The firm that bid $240,000 failed to provide the city with surety bond documents, according to public records.
Mayor Andre Sayegh had announced late last year his administration would undertake a $1.6 million renovation of the Bauerle Fieldhouse. Phase one has to be finished within four months, according to public records, before phase two can begin.
Money for the renovation are coming from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
“The expectations must be bigger and better for our community,” said councilman Michael Jackson. He called the mayor’s plan a “simple remodel.” He wanted a bigger expansion of the fieldhouse.
Jackson refused to vote on awarding the contract on Tuesday. Contract was awarded in a 6-0 vote.
Councilman Luis Velez, chairman of public works, pointed out this is phase one. He said there’s multiple phases. He said adding a second level to the fieldhouse is not possible because the foundation of structure won’t support it.
“Kids are using that place without a proper restroom, proper lockers, or a proper gym,” said Velez. “We need to give them something, we need to fix this it’s deteriorating.”
Velez urged the mayor to convince the Board of Education to pitch in funds for paving the vicinity of the fieldhouse.
The roof of the fieldhouse, located at 98 Oak Street, has been leaking because of neglect and poor maintenance. Municipal officials said the building has been neglected for decades.
Bauerle Fieldhouse is used by the school district.