Council OKs study on Mesa High track

The first step in a process that could replace Costa Mesa High School's track and field with a more-modern, all-weather facility cleared its first hurdle Tuesday night.

City Council members approved handing the Newport-Mesa Unified School District $15,000 to fund a study about what could feasibly be built at Mesa.

That study, which Newport-Mesa requested, will include items like design concepts, traffic concerns, lighting, sound amplification, compliance with environmental laws and what state educational authorities may require from the project.

The school board plans to consider the item exactly one week after the council's approval, according to district spokeswoman Laura Boss.

Without board members' nod the council's vote would be moot.

"If it doesn't pass through the school district and they don't approve it, nothing happens," Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger explained before the council's vote.

If the school board signs on, the project would be held to strict deadlines.

The district would have to commission the feasibility study within 60 days of receiving the $15,000 and hearing the subsequent report not more than three months later.

Within six months of receiving the results, the district and city would have to hear public input and start hashing out details of the project's design, funding and use.

Mensinger said Tuesday that the field had been left to languish for decades.

"We're looking at something that should have been done many years ago," he said.

Costa Mesa has already allocated $300,000 in this year's budget for design, City CEO Tom Hatch told the council. The $15,000 comes from that pool.

But the ultimate price tag for the stadium could be between $3 million and $4 million, Hatch said, with the bulk of that needed money unaccounted for.

"At some point we have to figure out how we're going to fund it," Mensinger said. "If we can't fund it, we can't fund it. If we can, we will."

Newport-Mesa's school board will consider the agreement at its meeting Tuesday.

School board President Dana Black was not immediately available to comment.

"The feasibility study will provide an opportunity to include broader consideration of the district's needs and requirements for the Costa Mesa field project proposed by the city," Boss wrote in an email.

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck

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