The Perry Community School District Board of Directors received unexpected good news Monday regarding Phase One of the Dewey Field Renovation Project.
Bids were accepted and opened Feb. 6, with the board agreeing at their monthly meeting Monday to approve two contracts totaling $1,065,000 — a savings of more than $45,000 on the estimated costs.
Adding to the positive mood of the meeting was news that one of the bids would include the construction of a new press box — an item originally scheduled as part of Phase Two.
Mike Murphy of Larson Engineering said the board received eight bids for one part of the Phase I work and five for the second part.
Lang Construction Group of West Des Moines was awarded the contract for the first part. They will build and pave the new entrance, concession building and restrooms and perform additional site work for $745,400.
Seating City and Athletic Facilities of Excelsior, Minn., was awarded the contract for the second portion of Phase One, which will include a 1,050-seat bleacher arrangement. Included in the $320,051 cost will be construction of a 10-foot-deep by 42-foot-wide press box similar to those at Ballard, DC-G and numerous other local competitors.
Phase Two of the project was to include additional bleacher seating and the press box, so bringing half of the second phase into the first and still coming in under the expected cost received positive responses from the board and Superintendent Clark Wicks.
“We always want to be moving forward,” Wicks said. “If you are just standing still you are going to get run over. This project is going to pay dividends for generations to come.”
Board President Kyle Baxter said, “This is not just a football thing, either. Soccer, marching band, vocational classes, track and field and other use Dewey Field and the track.”
Director Linda Andorf added that “this is not just the high school. The middle school and elementary will benefit from this, as will the whole community.”
Work will begin in early April, with Phase One completed prior to the first football game. Wicks noted the school was actively pursuing public and corporate donors to help raise at least $250,000. If that goal is reached, the VanKirk family has offered to provide an additional $75,000 in matching funds.
A gift of $350,000 — matched by the district — from the VanKirk family in honor of the late Pete VanKirk helped kick-start the project.
“We are calling the effort ‘1,000 Bluejays’ because if we can find that number willing to donate $250, we will be there,” Wicks said. “Anyone who donates at least $250 will receive a brick on which they can have three lines of text placed, and that will be part of our wall of supporters. So far I have received four donations of $1,000, one at $250 and one online for $250, and we only started Friday.”
Wicks noted more than 1,000 letters had been prepared and were in the process of being mailed, chiefly to those from graduating classes in the 1970s. He promised to reach out to others as contact information became available.