John Burroughs and Burbank high schools will finally install
long-awaited safety netting around their baseball fields, but it will
cost much more than originally thought, according to officials from
the district’s facilities department.
The School Board voted Thursday to move forward immediately on the
project, accepting a bid of $760,297 for installation of safety
netting and fencing.
“If just one ball goes over the net and hits someone in the head
it’s not just a matter of inconvenience -- it’s a death,” said board
member Ted Bunch of the vital need to install netting efficiently.
Neighbors along streets lining the schools’ baseball fields have
long complained of fly balls from the fields, and there is a risk of
being hit by foul balls that reach the track or tennis courts on
campus, according to a district report.
The vote triggers the project’s construction this summer, even
though the previous board approved the project last November to be
complete by now.
Board members thought they were approving the plans and
construction, board members said. But the project was still in its
infancy, with only conceptual drawings and no structural engineering
assessments, Supt. Greg Bowman said.
When Craig Jellison became chief facilities officer in January, he
and his team hired an architect to work with a structural engineer
and develop the plans for construction.
“If you don’t have [structural engineering] as a basis, you can’t
determine how much this is going to cost,” Bowman said.
Last November, the board was told construction would cost about
$225,000, an amount significantly underestimated, Jellison said.
The board decided that it would not be worth the risk of
compromising safety to lower the cost of construction. Since the
previous plans were no more than conceptual drawings and did not
include structural engineering assessments, the estimated cost of
$225,000 was inaccurate, Jellison said. The poles alone cost
$300,000, he said.
“I don’t have a clue how the previous [facilities] administration
came up with the cost of $225,000,” Jellison said.
Though the project will cost more, Burroughs varsity tennis coach
Roy Bernhardt said the netting is long overdue.
“I’m thrilled,” Bernhardt said. “I’ve been complaining about this
for years. Over the years I’ve had parents, coaches and players hit
by baseballs and I got hit in the elbow last year.”
Do you think protective netting is needed for Burbank and
Burroughs high schools, and that it is worth the extra cost? E-mail
your responses to burbankleader @latimes.com; mail them to the
Burbank Leader, 111 W. Wilson Ave., Glendale, CA 91203. Please spell
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