The Perry Community School District Board of Education met in special session Friday in the Brady Library at PHS to discuss the first steps in a process that will result in $700,000 worth of improvements to Dewey Field.
Mike Murphy of Larson Engineering addressed the board, answering questions about project timeline, costs and quality control.
The board signed a $13,000 contract with Larson Engineering, which the school attorney will review before final approval.
The $13,000 will allow Larson to conduct both a geotechnical exploration and analysis study, as well as a topographic survey of the site. Murphy said both will be completed before the end of September.
“This will help us get the ball rolling,” Murphy said. “Once we have the technical and topographic information in hand, we can begin developing a master plan. That would include what you might call Phase 1 of the project, and we expect to have it ready in early to mid October.”
Design development would continue through November, with the necessary construction documents to be prepared in December.
The board hopes to let the project for bidding in January, with contracts awarded no later than February and construction beginning in April. The board has set a goal of having Phase 1 completed and the facility ready to play prior to the start of the 2018 school year.
While no details have been firmly set, a few features of the project are all but assured. The field itself will remain on an East-West orientation, and the track, while receiving some work, will remain at six lanes.
Beginning in 2018, the home crowd will sit in new bleachers on the north side of the field, with the main entrance — along with admission area, concessions and more — moved to the northeast corner, approximately directly across 18th Street from the south entrance into the PHS parking lot.
An arched or gated entryway will welcome visitors, who will watch action being played on a new artificial turf (not “astroturf”) playing surface.
The project took off with the April donation by the VanKirk family of $350,000 toward a renovation of Dewey Field in memory of Dallas “Pete” VanKirk. The donation required matching funds from the school board, which they quickly committed.
A longtime supporter of Perry athletics and ardent fan of Bluejay football, Pete VanKirk would be delighted to see the project move ahead, his sons Kirk and Darek VanKirk told the board at their April meeting.
On Friday, the first step in that project was taken.