Freedom Ball Fields site

The City of Franklin and the Franklin Special School District have jointly contracted the developer of Port Royal Park to develop future ball fields now four years in the making.

Franklin aldermen initially approved in 2019 an expenditure of $276,300 for the consultation services of Nashville-based Lose Design, but it was not until July 2021 that Manchester-based Sain Construction Company — the same builder who constructed the 30-acre Port Royal Park grounds at Fischer Park, the largest park project in Spring Hill — was awarded the project as its general contractor for $6,261,200.

Since then, Lose Design signed a deal with the city to render construction administration services for the project for a maximal cost of $101,500.

The bulk of the project’s expense is an estimated $5,150,000 for FSSD’s ball field reconstruction project with which other Parks and Recreation items were included, but the city and FSSD are operating under an agreement to split the entirety of the costs for the joint contract down the middle such that little more than $3 million is expected to fall to FSSD.

Sain Construction Co. outbid competitors for the contract in a process that extended during the heat of the pandemic from July 16 to Aug. 7, 2020, beginning with a virtual, pre-bid meeting.

Competitors included Hendersonville-based Olympian Construction, Franklin-native Romach Construction and The Parents Company out of Brentwood. The latter submitted the highest bid at over $1 million more than the cost of the planned Sain project.

Sealed bids were not actually received by the city’s engineering department until May 21, 2021. Mayor Ken Moore and alderman unanimously voted to award the contract with little-to-no discussion.

City staff will execute daily project inspections, but Lose Design is expected to review and approve design elements relative to architecture, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and plumbing.

The Franklin Parks Department spent the first two years on community engagement and preliminary planning before presenting a master plan in June 2019 for ball fields and walking trails designed to serve the Franklin Special School District. That included a cutting-edge $5.4 million parks facility along Highway 96 West between Freedom Middle School and Poplar Grove Schools with two 325-foot baseball fields enclosed via 200-foot fencing — each field replacing a preexisting one.

The forthcoming facility also comes with softball fields, concession areas, a pavilion, batting cages and the city’s first LED-lighting system. Planned walking trails similar to those seen at Port Royal Park will imbue the grounds with a broader capacity for public recreation, making Sain Construction an ideal builder for the project.