The Fort Dodge Community School District board is considering adding a track to its new middle school.
A track was not part of the original plans for the new building, Superintendent Doug Van Zyl said Monday.
"There's a building, and then there's what to do with the rest of the 65 acres," he said. "On all the plans, there's always kind of been a circle or bowl, so to speak, showing a track."
Shane Albrecht, district construction manager, after consulting with the board's capital projects committee, sought out proposals.
"You have to have a proposal and the documents before you go out to seek bids in any way, shape or form," Van Zyl said.
The district received three proposals for the design of a new six-lane asphalt track, with a six-lane all-weather track as an alternate.
I & E Group of Mankato, Minn., submitted the lowest estimate at $20,800. Proposals were also received from Bishop Engineering and Aller's Architects.
Aller's had the highest bid, of $26,800. According to Albrecht, Bishop submitted a price base but wanted to charge hourly for meetings.
Albrecht recommended using I & E Group.
"They would come down and give us an all-inclusive price," he said, which includes contract administration.
Even if the district does not go forward with building a track immediately, the plans would still be viable in the future, Albrecht said.
"Our recommendation coming from Capital Projects was, we'll get the design and we'll get some numbers on what it's going to cost us," he said. "We can make a decision whether or not we can afford to have a track out there at the time the middle school opens."
Van Zyl argued a track would likely be a necessary feature. The district will no longer have access to the Phillips Middle School track.
"I know we can't get all of our middle school and high school kids at Dodger Stadium to practice for track, plus Iowa Central and everybody else," he said. "We would need another facility to be able to do that."
He added, "You won't be able to know what it's going to cost unless you have the plans and designs to be able to get it done."
Stuart Cochrane, board president, said the design dollars would not be wasted.
"Now or five years from now, those are dollars we're going to spend anyway," he said.
The dollars would come from a contingency in the middle school project funds, and not from general funds "or anything else," Van Zyl said.
Board member Bill Kent supported the proposal based on the finances.
"We only have some really rough ballpark ideas of some costs, but it looks like we're in the ballpark of having these funds," he said. "This is a step to get a better handle on what that number really is so we can more accurately tell if we have the funds."
He added, "I probably wouldn't be in favor of this except for the fact that it appears we're very close to having the funding available."
The board approved hiring I & E Group to design a track in consideration for future construction.