The South Winneshiek School District is pursuing possible football field improvements and a new track.

During a special meeting last week, the South Winneshiek School Board authorized preliminary work and design estimated to cost $9,500.

Erdman Engineering of Decorah is doing the design and survey work.

According to South Winneshiek Superintendent Chris Hoover, the football field has become flat, which means water pools. The field needs to be "recrowned" to eliminate the problem. The District also wants to install a drainage and irrigation system.

Currently, school employees have to water the field with hoses. The District also wants to install a new all-weather track that would be slightly angled toward the football field, so the drainage system would be necessary to direct the water out toward the north end of the field, Hoover said.

South Winneshiek has a crushed rock track and Hoover said it's one of only two schools in the area that doesn't have an all-weather track. As a result, the District can't host high school track meets.

"When it's our time to host the Upper Iowa Conference meet we have to borrow North Fayette's or Decorah's track and host it there," he said.

Too expensive

Board members have been talking about the projects for the past five years, Hoover said, but the cost has been prohibitive. In an attempt to cut costs, the District has been working with local contractors.

"Reilly Construction of Ossian has been very willing to work with us and help us in any way needed," he said.

The firm would do the football field recrowning and install the drainage and irrigation systems, Hoover said.

Reilly has helped find ways to save the District money, he said. As a local firm, it doesn't have the expenses a contractor from outside the area would have, he explained.

By working with Erdman Engineering, the District hasn't needed to hire an architect, Hoover added.

In addition, volunteer labor will be utilized whenever possible, he said. Because the football project would cost less than $100,000, the District does not need to obtain competitive bids, according to Hoover.

The superintendent said he hopes to have "firm numbers" on the football field to report to the Board at its Monday, Nov. 5 meeting.

"If they approve it, basically on Nov. 6 we'll get started on it," he said.

By the end of the year, school officials should have an estimate on the cost of an all-weather track and will begin soliciting bids. A bid opening for the track would be scheduled for March or April, he said.


If the Board gives its approval next month, Hoover said all the work on the football field would be done in November, with the exception of the irrigation system. He said the hillside on the home bleacher side of the field would be pushed back about six feet and the football field would be reseeded in March or April.

If the Board endorses the track by April, the existing track would be torn up, and a new asphalt, all-weather track would be put into place over the summer.

"If all goes according to plan, we could have a football field and track ready to go for the 2013-14 school year," Hoover said.