The school board this week took the first official step toward building a new stadium at Corona del Mar High School, but proponents hope it won't cost the Newport-Mesa Unified School District a dime.

A month earlier, on Nov. 13, CdM track coach Bill Sumner made his case before the board.

He proposed a new privately funded stadium complete with a nine-lane track, synthetic field turf and seats for 1,500.

He didn't want money from the school board, just their approval, so he handed over a $15,000 check with a string attached.

"We have not cashed that check yet," Deputy Supt. Paul Reed said during Tuesday's school board meeting.

The district needed the money to check the feasibility of Sumner's plans, and Tuesday the board voted unanimously to use it for that purpose.

Before Sumner can start fundraising in earnest with renderings funded by donations, the district wants to make sure the architectural promises are possible.

Sumner said the stadium has been in the works for about five years.

He has renderings that were drawn up years ago, but they are outdated, Reed said.

Sumner said the donation was just the beginning of meeting his $3.8-million goal.

"That's just fuel to get us off the ground," he said.

— Jeremiah Dobruck

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck