Sat07262014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

   2014 39.95 HSD w VIDor PH-Banner2-500-x-125

KGHS stadium decision pending

A stadium decision is pending in King George.  
What should be done about a high school sports venue?
Members of the King George County Board of Supervisors and of the School Board are mulling that question.
Each were provided copies of a draft location report that provides information toward making a decision on whether to build a new high school stadium or modernize and renovate Hunter Field.
County Administrator Travis Quesenberry received the draft location report from CHA Inc., an engineering/design firm, in early June and made it available to the elected officials at the same time.

CHA is the same firm that in May had provided an estimate of $120,000 for a short-term solution for Hunter Field to get it into playing shape for this fall.

That option was proposed to also solve some drainage problems and address safety issues that were raised by soccer and football referees to school division officials earlier this spring.

That Hunter Field plan was rejected by the School Board, which instead hired a teacher to provide upkeep for the field over the summer.
At the same time, King George High School Principal Todd Satterwhite has said they would keep in close communication with referees about reinstating use of the field this fall for games as it has been for decades, once the playing surface has improved due to much-needed maintenance.  


TIMING    
Whether a new stadium or a modernized Hunter Field is selected, unveiling a new sports venue in King George is not expected to become reality until at least fall 2011, if then.
That’s because the scope of work for the design of a new stadium or renovating Hunter Field is 280 days, which is more than 9 months.
That’s only for the design and does not include the actual renovations or construction, which would be the subject of an additional contract following another request for proposals.
If a Hunter Field upgrade is selected, it would take the field out of use for an unknown number of months.  
That’s because the report says the field would have to shifted in order to fit it with a safety zone. In addition, the northern embankment needs significant grading and construction of a retaining wall. Because that would move the 50 yard line, the report recommends demolishing the existing bleachers and replacing them with new grandstands.

COST ESTIMATES    
CHA reports pros and cons for each location site. The biggest factor is the price tag of $2 million more to completely upgrade Hunter Field, than to build a new stadium next to the new KGHS.
The cost estimate of $5,638,400 to upgrade Hunter Field includes some costs that aren’t needed if a new stadium is built at KGHS. CHA estimates the cost to build a new stadium at $3,596,800.
It includes $420,000 for an additional building to be constructed for restrooms and concessions, along with $450,000 for construction of additional parking at Hunter Field.
There are lots of other variances between the estimated costs for the two sites and many need further explanation.

DISCUSSION ON STADIUM OPTIONS TO BE SCHEDULED     
Those explanations will likely be explored when CHA is asked to provide a presentation to the county.
Quesenberry said a meeting date will be selected soon for a presentation and it could be as soon as next week. Supervisors have meetings scheduled on July 6 and 20.
At its meeting this week on Monday, the School Board directed Superintendent Candace Brown to request a joint meeting with the county board to see if it can get in on the stadium location report presentation when it is scheduled.

NEITHER OPTION IDEAL?    
Neither location option is ideal for various reasons. Here are a couple of them.  
In addition to costing $2 million more to upgrade Hunter Field than to put a new one next to the high school, it would also result in simply replacing a competition field instead of adding another one to the current field inventory.  
But building a new stadium at the high school could create a noise issue for the Heritage Hall nursing home directly across the side street from the site planned for a stadium at the new high school.

ARE THERE OTHER LOCATION OPTIONS?    
There are other properties the county owns. Could any be suitable for a stadium?  If not, what are the plans for them?
Quesenberry told The Journal that the footprint for a stadium facility would require about seven acres. It would also need another 10 to 15 acres, depending on the topography, for parking and accessory buildings for team rooms, referee rooms, concessions, restrooms, etc.   

FORMER LANDFILL SITE    
The former landfill site, located near the intersection of Routes 3 and 205, Purkins Corner, which had all trash removed from it, is planned to be the site of a future park.
It contains approximately 33 acres. While state regulations bar construction of buildings on the former trash footprint, it’s not clear whether a stadium might be OK’ed for that location, if county officials wanted to pursue it. And that is a big ‘if.’
The site would have access from three roads, including one on Route 205 and two on Route 3, at the YMCA and the Sheriff’s office under construction.  

RALPH BUNCHE SITE     
The historic former Ralph Bunche school site is located on the east side of US 301, north of the intersection with Route 205. A recent assessment report notes that the school and related features occupy three tracts totaling 7.8 acres of a 33.9 acre property.
While renovations for reuse are planned for the civil-rights era building, there has not been discussion about the suitability or not of the potential use of the remainder of the 33.9-acre site.
The bulk of the vacant acreage is located on largely wooded property to the north of the school site.  Whether the topography is conducive to development is not known, but county officials have not publicly addressed a desire for use of the vacant property.

HOPYARD PARCELS   
The Hopyard proffers associated with the 2003 rezoning have, or will, convey several parcels to the county. One is on the east side of Port Conway Road, but it is occupied by a wastewater treatment plant. Another is the boat ramp, which is likewise unsuitable for an additional use and has been passed on to the state.
In addition to a trail that is to be constructed on the west side of Dogue Road, there are also two contiguous parcels conveyed to the county near the intersection with Route 3. One is 9.5 acres intended as a natatorium site and 6.5 acres intended for another civic use.
Added together, those 16 acres are too small for a stadium, even if the location were deemed suitable.

See the results of the poll in The Journal.



Phyllis Cook
Staff reporter



 

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