SAND SPRINGS, Oklahoma - A lot of cities take bids on projects and then outsource the work - but Sand Springs is finding for some projects they can do the work at lower cost if they do it themselves.

The Parks Department is setting up the splash pad at Pratt Civitan Park and making repairs on the playground equipment - the kind of they've always done. But they're also finishing up construction work on a new set of bathrooms.

It's the kind of work that most cities hire out - but Sand Springs does it in-house - to save money.

"If we hired this bathroom facility out, we would at least double the cost to our citizens. We've got expertise and talent in our department, and we're fortunate to have that and fortunate to put it to good use for the taxpayers," said Jeff Edwards, Park Department Director.

Parks staff with experience in construction designed the building, and construction was done in-house. They still hire contractors for trades like stone work, but everything they can do with parks staff - they do.

Gene Hartman is in his second year with the Parks Department.

"My biggest transition was going from an inside job to an outside job," he said, but now he's been trained for concrete and tractor work.

"It's something completely different than what I normally do, and I'm just learning as I go," said Kimberly Fisher. She and Hartman work as a team in park maintenance, but they're learning construction to build the next park improvements.

"When you get out of your comfort zone, it's kind of fun," said Hartman.

With each project, the department builds up the skill of their own staff - so they're not afraid to take on bigger projects. Edwards said the bathroom addition is costing about $40,000 - and the parks department figures that's about half of what it could have cost.