Fox Field's fate apparently isn't sealed after all.
Representatives of a group that tried to lease a portion of Fox Field from the Provo School District last month laid their plans for the property before the City Council on Tuesday night in hopes the council might reconsider its opposition to the plan.And, after an hour, the council agreed to reopen discussion about how to accommodate the burgeoning needs of the school district, Provo High School and the Utah Valley Medical Offices Ltd.
Last month, council criticism killed a proposal to lease 1.4 acres of Fox Field directly behind the Provo School District office, 280 W. 940 North, to Utah Valley Medical Offices for five years.
Utah Valley Medical Offices owns one medical office complex on the southeast corner of Utah Valley Regional Medical Center and is in the process of building another. It wants to lease the property near the district office to build a 212-space parking lot.
Many of the patients coming to the offices are infirm and, without the proposed lot, would have difficulty traveling from a parking lot at the north end of Fox Field to the doctors' office building, said Creig A. MacArthur, an orthopedic surgeon.
Utah Valley Medical Offices said it would pay the district $21,000 annually to let the district use property it owns at the north end of Fox Field for recreation programs and to build a 50-space parking lot for the district. As part of the property swap, the group also agreed to pay the district $40,000.
Dave Gardner, agent for the group, said his clients also proposed to buy the district office building in the future at a price "far above value," which would provide funds for the district to build new offices and to relocate its crowded transportation, maintenance and warehouse facilities.
The proposal, negotiated over the course of a year, seemed like a good deal for the district and the medical office complex, Gardner said.
"We did not feel we were the Darth Vader in this deal," Gardner said.
The group did not contact the city earlier about its plans because it was unaware of an agreement between the city and school district for management of Fox Field, he said.Gardner also said the district lacks adequate parking and it plans to build a parking lot on two-thirds of an acre on the south end of Fox Field regardless of whether it works out a deal with Utah Valley Medical Offices.
But Councilman Ron Last said the deal overlooks future needs of Provo High School, directly east of Fox Field. The school has only 67 percent of the amount of space it should have and needs a new gymnasium, among other things.
Other council members said new administration buildings won't provide Provo schoolchildren with a better education.