Fayette County School Board spends extra $500,000 for artificial fields

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The Fayette County Board of Education voted last fall to bypass the lowest bidder and spend an additional $500,000 to build four artificial playing fields.

Why did they do it? Don’t know. They refuse to talk.

Last fall, the Fayette County board of education put out requests for proposals to install four artificial playing fields across the county. But, immediately, bidders were suspicious. After reading the detailed specifications of what kind of turf the county wanted, John Bogosian, of Sprinturf, smelled a rat.

Sprinturf wrote this letter of complaint spelling out 5 different manufacturing specifications for a turf that could be provided by ONLY one company: Field Turf.

“It clearly looks like they had one particular product in mind when they specked it,” said Bogosian.

One of the bidders, Precision Turf, was well known to the board. Earlier, Precision Turf helped install an artificial turf field at Sandy Creek High School. Precision Turf's proposal included a Field Turf field.

We examined the proposals and staff evaluations. County bid documents stated a bid bond "must be submitted with the bid." Evaluations show Precision Turf got a 0 under the category: "Submitted bid bond as required."

John Bogosian called it highly unusual. “Most any time in any kind of RFP process or bid process, if you don't have a bid bond you’re automatically non-responsive and they throw out the bid.”

We also found five different companies, all well-known and well respected, graded within 4 points of each other, including John Bogosian's Sprint Turf. Deluxe Athletics, using a Field Turf field, was rated the best. Sprint Turf was the lowest bidder, by a half million dollars. So, who did the evaluators pick? Precision Turf.

We repeatedly tried to reach out to the Board of Education to find out why they made the choice they did. We called. We emailed. We were ignored. So, we went to a recent board meeting. We were met with silence, and we were told to talk to the public information officer. She refused to talk with us.

“At that kind of a difference ($500,000) when they're actually stealing from the taxpayers and in this case they're stealing from the kids,” said Bogosian.

If you are a Fayette County taxpayer who wants answers, you should email Melinda Berry-Dreisbach at berrydreisbach.melinda@mail.fcboe.org.  Or, call Superintendent, Dr. Barrow at 770-460-3535, x.115.