Sticker shock

Ball field bids come in high; health care district, county asked to step up to the plate

When one, two,

three companies bid to build ball

fields all exceeded estimates, the

Town of Pinedale stopped short of

throwing the bids “out.” Instead, they

used alternate bids to get the prices

down and then go to their two partners

with bids in hand asking them to

come up with two-thirds of the added


Sublette County Commissioners

were approached by Pinedale Mayor

Matt Murdock during their May 5

meeting asking the county to come up

with another $250,000.

Initially, the estimated costs for the

ball fields, to match facilities the town

is giving up so a critical access hospital

can be built, were projected at $3.3

million. When bids were opened in

late April, all three companies came

in high – really high – with one bid

touching on $5.47 million.

Staff and contractors went back

to the drawing board – throwing out

items, doing work in-house and settling

for a lower grade soil.

In the end, Teletractors came in

with the low bid of $3.977 million.

Mid-America Golf’s bid was $4.1

million and Westwood Curtis came in

at $4.6 million.

“Staff worked really hard to get the

bids down,” Murdock said. He added

the town has invested more than $5

million over the years to get the Skyline

Drive facilities where they are.

He added the town has also stepped

up, paying in full the costs to complete

Wilson Street, which was required by

the Wyoming Department of Transportation

and Sublette County School District

No. 1.

He asked that the county, town and

health care district follow the original

agreement to the higher cost, with each

paying an additional $250,000.

Commissioner Joel Bousman was

discouraged, saying they used the property

on the hill to save money. However,

it now appears new ball fields weren’t

such a good deal.

Chairman David Burnett confirmed

the higher price was to replace the same

facilities the two would be giving up.

Murdock said all other “wants” were

put into alternate bid options. “Staff

worked diligently with contractors to

get this cost.”

“Perception is reality,” Commissioner

Mack Rawhouser said. “It looks

like taxpayer dollars are going to build

a ball field.”

Burnett said that isn’t the case. The

money is going to purchase the land on

the hill for the proposed critical access


David Doorn, administrative director

for the Sublette County Rural Health

Care District, was asked if the district’s

board would approve the added expense.

He said he didn’t know. However,

he said, “If the county doesn’t, the

entire project is dead in the water.”

He said this is the one piece still

hanging out there, with the memorandum

of understanding between

the board and the Sublette Center. He

added that was very close with only a

few words left under discussion.

“If we don’t have the land, the MOU

doesn’t matter,” Doorn said.

Commissioner Tom Noble said, “I

don’t want to hold up the big picture.”

Commissioner Doug Vickrey said he

supported approving the $250,000. “It’s

money well spent just to give voters an

opportunity during the general election

to either vote for or against a hospital


Bousman said he would vote for it to

send it on to voters. “But I do think of

the town paying $5 million for what’s

there; it blows my mind.”

Sublette County Commissioners

agreed to pay the additional $250,000.

A special meeting is scheduled for

Tuesday, May 12, at 4 p.m. by the Sublette

County Rural Health Care District.

The only items on the agenda are a budget

amendment for the purchase of the

Pinedale ball fields. The meeting will be

in the Commissioner’s Meeting Room

of the Courthouse.

Commissioners also agreed to extend

the existing lease for the two clinics,

waiving rent for another year.


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