Sports complex leverages cooperative

The O’Fallon Family Sports Park has scored big time with a cooperative purchasing agreement that has delivered seven new soccer fields in less than 90 days while saving $1 million. Rather than put the project out to bid, the city tapped the National Joint Power Alliance (NJPA) to complete all of its product and service purchasing. The turnkey project for the artificial turf field was procured through NJPA vendor Shaw Sports Turf; St. Louis-based Byrne & Jones Sports performed the work transforming the sports complex’s natural turf fields to synthetic turf.

Cooperative purchase agreements allow cities, schools and governmental entities to more efficiently procure products and services through vendors that have been thoroughly vetted and priced by a cooperative purchasing entity.  The purchasing consortium becomes the lead agency in bidding and awarding contracts for its members who can select turnkey contracts that have already been competitively bid.  It saves time and money because there is one procurement process rather than many.

Staples, MN-based NJPA leverages the national purchasing power of more than 50,000 member agencies while also streamlining the required purchasing process.  In the case of O’Fallon, it established a guaranteed maximum price of $4.5 million for the seven new fields, including installation. The city originally projected the cost to be $5.5 million to put the bid out themselves, including the product and warranty, engineering and the certified builder to perform site preparation and installation.

“We wanted to ensure taxpayer money on the sports complex renovations was spent wisely,” said Mary Jeanne Hutchison, director of O’Fallon Parks and Recreation. “NJPA gave us a complete package that had been thoroughly researched and priced.  In the end, we got the product we wanted for the right price and were able to streamline the construction process to get all seven fields built in 89 calendar days.” The renovation work is funded by the local hotel and motel tax.

Hutchison said the process entailed going to NJPA’s bid board to find the right synthetic soccer turf and installation package. “The quality of the turf is only going to be as good as the subsurface conditions.  That requires a certified builder proficient in site preparation including amending soil conditions and improving drainage.  All of that was built into our Shaw Sports Turf package,” noted Hutchison.   Byrne & Jones managed all project specifications including site preparation, grading, drainage and turf installation.

The new fields are part of renovations to the O’Fallon Family Sports Park that include new restrooms and parking lot improvements to accommodate 700 vehicles.  The new fields will be used for soccer, lacrosse, and other activities. “We start team practice and league play in August and the first of five tournaments are scheduled starting in September,” said Hutchison.  “The cooperative purchasing process has allowed us no loss of field time.”

“The Shaw Sports Turf package met all the standards that schools and public entities should look for in the purchasing of synthetic turf system, including price, durability, longevity, safety and playability,” said Jameson Sheley, general manager, Byrne & Jones Sports.

As budgets become tighter, more schools and public entities are turning to cooperative purchases to save costs and streamline construction.  Sheley noted that it can be a challenge to find the right building partner for athletic surfaces.  “Cooperative purchasing agreements have made easier for public entities because they’ve thoroughly vetted the product and installation specifications that must be followed in the bid package,” noted Sheley.  Byrne & Jones has installed more than one thousand sports surfaces, including tracks and synthetic turf fields.