Dranesville Supervisor John Foust has found money in Fairfax County funds to pay for turfing athletic fields at both Langley and McLean High Schools.
Booster Clubs at both schools have been holding regular fundraisers to gather the estimated $750,000 needed to turf an athletic field at each school. Fairfax County schools did not pay for turf fields.
“This will put them over the top,” Foust said. "Both high school fields should be turfed by the end of the summer."
Foust explained that as part of the recent negotiations surrounding the adoption of the county's new budget, county officials found that "cable fees came in in excess of" the budgeted amount.
"We got a $1.5 million fund to help high school booster clubs turf fields," Foust said. The fund is part of the 2013 county budget that the supervisors will adopt May 1.
Geoff Noto, Langley High School's director of student activities, praised Foust for his work to get the needed money.
"We are really thrilled as a elected official how much support he has given," Noto said. He said Foust had attended fundraising events and spent many hours meeting with citizens raising money to refurbish the fields.
"As a parent of athletes at MHS I am very exited about the field becoming a reality and I am very appreciative of Supervisor Foust's effort to obtain funding to make it happen, said Bill Gray, a board member of McLean Youth Soccer (MYS).
McLean High School had previously applied for county funds to help with its field so they will automatically receive $175,000, Foust explained. Langley must file an application to receive its $175,000, Foust said.
"With the $175,000 and booster funding raising we’ll have the $750,000 to complete the project this summer,” Noto said.
Fairfax County had set a May 15 deadline for the two schools to have funding in place in order to move ahead with turfing this spring or summer.
Joel Stillman, president of McLean Youth Athletics, said, "We are happy that the fields may get turf but my understanding is that they will be for the exclusive use of the schools and there will be no time for youth sport participants."
Foust said: The schools allow their fields to be used by the public when they are not being used by the schools. In addition, much of the money raised to turf high school fields is contributed by youth sports groups. They enter into a memorandum of understanding that pretty much guarantees them access to the field at specified times. For example, McLean Youth Lacrosse is contributing to the McLean High School turf field project and will enter into an MOU that will specify when they will have exclusive use of the field.
Turf fields are such a hot topic in Fairfax, the Board of Supervisors created a task force to study the county's turf field needs at its meeting earlier this month.