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Supervisors discuss W&L football concession stand

The Westmoreland Supervisors met last week with county school division Superintendent Elaine Fogliani and high school athletics coach Malcolm Lewis to address plans to construct a new concession stand on Washington and Lee football field.
Fogliani and the supervisors had discussed the plans to replace the old dilapidated structure many months ago and concerns were raised about a $125,000 expenditure to support athletics programs during a difficult economic period.
Initial designs have since been reviewed in hopes of minimizing costs and revised plans are currently being scrutinized by county school board members. Last week County Administrator Norm Risavi expressed an intention to participate in those school board deliberations.
Risavi shared intentions to make county personnel and regional inmates available to assist with construction of the new building. Sewer lines will be installed to accommodate the building’s kitchen and restroom facilities.

Risavi and District 2 Supervisor Russ Culver spoke of plans to make the construction project “a turn-key operation” in order to obtain the standing “to choose how we purchase the equipment.”
District 5 Supervisor Larry Roberson had reservations about obligating $125,000 to support the project.
“I know you need a new concession stand on the football field,” Roberson commented.
“$125,000 was the last figure I remember hearing. That amount would cover the materials and the sewer.
“I have a lot of heartburn with spending that kind of money in a bad financial time.”
“Sometimes you just have to pay the piper and address those health and safety issues,” Fogliani told the supervisor who represents the Town of Colonial Beach.
Addressing projected revenue shortfalls and a bad economy, Fogliani continued, “I have lost sleep and have gotten almost physically ill trying to deal with this budget situation.”
Fogliani told the supervisors that information coming out of the 2010 General Assembly session and the governor’s office make prospects even worse than conditions being currently experienced.
“One-third of the school division superintendents in Virginia are retiring [for this reason],” she related. “Right now it’s impossible to see the sun for the clouds. The stimulus money saved our paraprofessional positions in the past year,” she said of the one-time infusion of Stimulus Act revenues.
Supervisor Culver returned to the discussion to deliver the prediction that a new concession stand on the football field will provide opportunities to generate additional revenue that the school division needs.
“We can open it up a lot more if it isn’t an embarrassment,” Coach Lewis said, adding that something must be done about the existing restroom accommodations and the old facility’s failed septic drain fields.
“The field can be used for more [money making] community events,” Lewis said, “if we have a nice facility in place.”
“It will be a revenue generator,” Fogliani said.
Roberson asked if parents and students intended to launch a “booster project” to raise money to support the project and Lewis explained that “they will have to sell a lot of cheeseburgers” to raise $125,000.
The bathrooms and sewer will cost bout $35,000, according to Risavi.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Woody Hynson joined the discussion.
“I think we all know,” said Hynson, “that a new concession stand is necessary and that we need to find a way to get the price down. People like those french fries that we’re told are so bad for us, and nobody buys more hot dogs than I do at one time.
“I just hope we can push this project forward and get it done.”
“I like what Mr. Risavi said about looking at the changes and going back to the School Board. Then we can look at all the cost factors,” Culver noted.
District 3 Supervisor Lynn Brownley volunteered to put a fresh coat of paint on the ticket booth. He asked a question about the condition of the football field, recalling his past volunteer efforts to help improve the turf.
Lewis told Brownley that the field is in the best condition ever and Fogliani made it known that her office is still developing the final concession stand engineering contract. A completed design will follow and work will be finished, she predicted, by the beginning of the next school year.

Betsy Ficklin
Staff reporter

 

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