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RA Pledges $100K for SLHS Turf Fields

Community contributions and potential county grant getting synthetic turf fields closer to reality by 2012-13 school year.

's board of directors last week unanimously voted to contribute $100,000 to the quest to bring synthetic turf athletic fields to South Lakes High School, putting the project one step closer to being a reality.

The price tag for the two turf fields (one at the stadium, the other on the field area between South Lakes and ) is expected to be $1.4 million.

At RA's regular board meeting Thursday,  Parks and Recreation Director Larry Butler presented to the board a list of other community contributors.

The largest part will be paid for by a builder's proffer and a $175,000 Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) Grant. Reston Soccer Association will give $250,000 to the cause.

The proffer comes from a previous deal put in place when Arrowbrook Centre was built off of Centreville Road in Herndon. The proffer was to build Arrowbrook Park - the turf soccer facility nearby the mixed-used development - and an additional turf field somewhere else in the Hunter Mill District, says Bill Bouie, Chairman of the Fairfax County Park Authority Board. Bouie said the proffer was for up to $1.3 million.

South Lakes is one of four FCPS high schools applying for the NCS grant. Centreville, Robinson and McLean are also seeking the grant money. A deciscion is expected by Feb. 15, Bouie said.

South Lakes High School has pledged $30,000 from discretionary funds, says Principal Bruce Butler.

"The monies we are committing come from school based funds -gate receipts, contributions, monopole disbursements," said Bruce Butler, who is Larry Butler's brother. "No appropriated funds (county tax based funds) can be used for the project."

The school's athletic boosters group said it will pay $15,000 annually to the reserve and replacement fund.  has also offered $100,000.

RA CEO Milton Matthews said the RA money will come mainly from fees paid to the association by non residents.

With all this in place, the project will likely have the $650,000 it needs for construction to start. Ideally, construction would begin this spring and the fields would be ready for use at the start of the 2012-13 school year, both Bouie and Larry Butler said.

The stadium field would be built by the community partners (RA, RCC, Reston Soccer Association and the SLHS boosters), said Larry Butler. The proffer money and grant money would go for what is being called the community field, which would also have lights. He added the project is saving money by condensing the design and engineering costs of building two fields at once.

Larry Butler said in his presentation to RA that turf fields would benefit the entire community. He cited studies that show lighted turf fields get 60 percent more use because practice and games are not limited due to weather.

To read about the county's synthetic fields, click here. To read the county's policy on allocating field time to community partners, click here.

Bill Bouie February 01, 2012 at 08:03 PM
John, In addition to working with all of these great people to make this happen, I am in for $1,000. Will you match?
John Farrell February 01, 2012 at 08:07 PM
This whole exchange reminds me of my high school classmate who would argue over which manufacturer made the best headphones at every lunch period because he just had to have the "best" headphones. He was always trying to work an angle to get someone else to pay for the latest model. Mom, Dad, Grandma, Uncle Pete. Invariably, some other kid would buy a newer set and it would start all over again. Today, he's deaf and relies on hearing aides. Be careful what you covet?
John Farrell February 01, 2012 at 08:10 PM
For a grass field with lights, absolutely.
Karen Goff February 01, 2012 at 11:48 PM
South Lakes Boosters have said they will pay $15k annually for r and r.
Reston Resident February 07, 2012 at 09:29 PM
As a Reston resident and long time participant in sports at South Lakes and the youth leagues here, I can say John Farrell is correct about the Reston fields being allocated to kids all across the county. I played on a travel baseball team for South Lakes (comprised of 95% South Lakes kids) and we had serious issues getting on South Lakes baseball field in our season. That MOU should be produced and amended so that Reston Residents, Reston sports teams, and SOUTH LAKES STUDENTS get priority. i would be very skeptical about the allocation of usage for these teams if the County gets the final say on who can play on them and when,

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