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Mitchell Schools Superintendent Joe Graves announced during a Friday news conference at Mitchell Middle School that the stadium bids came in $400,000 over budget. (Laura Wehde/Republic)
Mitchell Schools Superintendent Joe Graves announced during a Friday news conference at Mitchell Middle School that the stadium bids came in $400,000 over budget. (Laura Wehde/Republic)

Stadium bids come in $400,000 over budget

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news Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Bids for the demolition and reconstruction of the Joe Quintal Field stadium are about $400,000 over budget, but Superintendent Joe Graves said Friday he will recommend spending the extra money.

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Graves called a news conference Friday afternoon at Mitchell Middle School to release the bid figures and to explain the funding package for the project. He blamed the higher-than-expected bids on rising construction costs, and he said some aspects of the project were kept in that could have been taken out.

"You only get to build these things once, and you need to make sure you do them right," Graves said.

The Board of Education will meet at 5 p.m. Monday at the north campus of Mitchell Technical Institute, located across from the high school. Graves will ask the board to approve a total project cost of $2.9 million, rather than the budgeted $2.5 million.

Graves said Friday that the primary source of additional funding will be $231,080 from the district's capital outlay reserves. That fund is expected to have $600,000 in it at the end of the year, so the withdrawal for the stadium project will reduce the balance to about $370,000.

"That still leaves us sufficient money in capital outlay," Graves said.

Part of the higher cost of the stadium project will be offset by about $100,000 in funding that wasn't previously anticipated. That new money includes an anonymous donation of $50,000, a $20,000 reduction in fees by project manager Puetz Corporation, $17,823 from Dakota Wesleyan for the field's goalposts and a $15,000 contribution from the Mitchell Athletic Booster Club.

The rest of the funding will come from $2.5 million in bond proceeds, $50,000 in unspent contingency funds from the Longfellow Elementary School project, $10,000 in anticipated interest earnings from the bond proceeds, and $8,000 from the district's athletic capital outlay budget.

The district will continue trying to sell $1.5 million naming rights for the stadium (the field would continue to be called Joe Quintal Field), but Graves acknowledged that there are no prospects.

"Currently we have no one even suggesting that they're likely to do that," he said.

The new stadium will be constructed mostly of precast concrete. It will be 100 feet longer than the existing stadium, which was built about 70 years ago and is in poor condition. The new stadium will seat 1,746 people, as compared to the existing capacity of about 1,200. Amenities in the new stadium will include a larger press box, two locker rooms, coaches' offices, officials' locker rooms, storage areas and wiring for technological devices.

Some hoped-for amenities have been left out of the project to save money. At the top of that wish list is a visitor's bleacher section, but that was axed to save about $163,000. The existing, 200-seat visitor bleacher section at the field will continue to be used for the immediate future.

"It's not adequate to the visitors," Graves admitted. He added, though, that it won't be "the end of the world" if some of the visitors have to sit on the home side.

The deadline to complete the stadium project is Sept. 2, which is one day prior to the Kernels' first home football game of the season. Graves said the district will consider playing that game on the road if the project suffers weather-related or other delays.

Graves said a decision from the board on the additional funding is needed Monday to keep the project on track. If the board gives the OK, demolition of the existing stadium could begin within the week.

"A delay at this point will mean that we may as well push it back a year," Graves said.

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