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South Knoxville's BMX track, athletics field project hundreds of thousands over budget

Initially, Knox County Parks and Recreation Director Doug Bataille estimated that the entire project would cost $750,000.

One of Knox County's biggest projects, a BMX track and athletic field in place of the old football stadium at South Doyle Middle School, is estimated to be hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget.

Initially, Knox County Parks and Recreation Director Doug Bataille estimated that the entire project would cost $750,000. Now, he says it could be double that.

"Officials are working to firm up estimates, but the project is expected to cost hundreds of thousands more due to unanticipated needs and increased construction costs," according to a news release from Knox County Parks and Recreation.

Bataille told 10News a need to improve handicap accessibility in the stadium, along with a rise in construction cost, has added to the estimated total cost of the project.

“It’s a big stadium, it’s an old stadium, the biggest issue we’re finding is ADA improvements to it," he said.

“Being a Parks and Rec department, we do a lot of projects, this one is pretty unique though and has definitely had some angles we didn't expect," Bataille said.

The course, taking over the old football field at South Doyle Middle School, is expected to open around August 2018.

“We’ve never built a BMX track, especially at this level before, and the track itself is really much more complicated to build than what we got originally from the BMX folks," he said.

The Public Building Authority, with assistance from Knox County Engineering & Public Works, will take lead of the project.

"I was really disappointed," Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said. "We’ve been working a long time trying to get this worked out.”

Burchett says he has faith in the new leadership over the project.

“They understand the scope of it and they understand the importance it has to me and this community so I would hope that they will take it over and do a good job with it.”

Leaders say higher construction costs are also racking up budgets for other county projects. The plum creek park project finished lightly over budget. The Parks and Recreation Department also plans to redesign the I-C King park project to make sure it stays within their original estimate.

RELATED | BMX course, park projects shaping South Knoxville

Construction of the track is set to start this summer, and construction of the school’s athletic fields is also scheduled to start as soon as weather permits.

Bataille said they're also working with the Legacy Parks Foundation and Visit Knoxville to improve the appearance of the stadium.