July 24, 2020
Central Sports Complex opening slated Aug. 15
It will take an estimated $4.4 million to complete the Central Sports Complex .
Photo/Don Del Rosso
Parks and recreation Director Gary Rzepecki says the county probably will work with food truck owners to provide concessions at the new complex.
Meetze Road (bottom) provides access to the complex, with an emergency exit on Old Auburn Road (top) next to the Fauquier County Fairgrounds.
Twenty years ago, the community had a dream that they could build something like this. And they made it happen.
— Gary Rzepecki, Fauquier County Parks and Recreation Department director
Under construction for about a year and a half, the Fauquier County Central Sports Complex just southeast of Warrenton will be ready for teams to play ball next month.
On schedule, the facility at Meetze and Old Auburn roads should open Saturday, Aug. 15, county Parks and Recreation Department Director Gary Rzepecki said.
The 74-acre county complex initially will include:
• Six rectangular multipurpose fields, including an artificial turf one, for soccer, football, lacrosse and field hockey.
• Five diamonds for baseball, youth baseball and softball.
• A multipurpose trail and a horse trail.
The complex’s “grand opening” will take place Saturday, Aug. 29.
Fully developed, it will cost about $17.6 million, according to Mr. Rzepecki.
So far, the complex has cost $13.2 million, according to county government officials. But it will take about $4.4 million more to complete the project as designed, the parks department director said.
Improvements to finish the complex include the installation of additional water and sewer lines, a septic and drainfield system, two permanent restroom structures, a water tower to serve the restrooms, a well and field irrigation system and lighting for three fields and parking areas.
Because of county government budget challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, those improvements probably won’t get made for at least two years, the parks director said.
“Hopefully, both” county money and donations eventually will fund the improvements, Mr. Rzepecki said. “The county’s got to find the money for the water lines, the sewer lines — we’ve got some of that in place — and the electrical.
“If the county’s kicking some of that in, then maybe we get donors to help with the restrooms, the irrigation and the lighting.”
Until the two planned permanent restroom structures get built, 10 portable toilets will serve teams, fans and other visitors, the parks department director said.
He called permanent restrooms a top priority, when funds become available.
“We’d want to get the water lines, the sewer lines and the septic field, so people can have real restrooms,” Mr. Rzepecki explained. “That would be No. 1. And (field) irrigation would be No. 2. Ballfield lights would be No. 3.”
The original complex design combined the restrooms and concessions in the permanent structures.
But the revised plan eliminated concessions stands because their probable lack of use wouldn’t justify the investment, Mr. Rzepecki suggested.
Last year, for example, his staff tried to recruit prospects to rent the two concessions buildings at the Northern Fauquier Community Park along Route 55 near Marshall but “nobody was interested,” he said.
For one thing, parks or sports complexes can’t guarantee clientele for concessions stand operators, Mr. Rzepecki said.
“Part of it is you don’t know when people are coming and when they’re not,” he said. “And because of the weather, things get cancelled. So it’s not a predictable business.”
The stands’ use often can be spotty or unsustainable because players’ parents sell concession items to raise funds for teams or because they believe their volunteer efforts help the community, Mr. Rzepecki said.
And when the players move on, so do their parents, he said.
“It’s not set up to be a business, so to speak,” the parks director added.
As an alternative, the county has talked with food truck owners about serving parks’ properties, Mr. Rzepecki said.
“It’s almost like it would be more beneficial to take an existing business and try to work out some kind of pilot program at the Central Sports Complex where, if we knew what the game schedules are, then food trucks could go at that time,” he said.
Food trucks provide that “mobility” and “flexibility,” the parks director said.
The restroom structures would feature a kind of shed roof attached to them to provide a shaded open-air place that could include picnic tables where people could gather, he said.
The complex will have one main one access off Meetze Road and an exit on Old Auburn Road for emergencies only.
The Aug. 29 “grand opening” will include:
• “Unveiling” of the Carl A. Bailey Baseball Complex, named after the retired, long-time parks and recreation board member.
• A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Larry Miller Trail, named after the long-time parks department director who retired last summer.
The Central Sports Complex represents a first-rate facility, Mr. Rzepecki said.
“I think we’ve really put forward a great project,” he said of designer Timmons Group Inc. of Richmond, general contractor S.W. Rodgers Co. Inc. of Gainesville, construction and engineering inspection firm WRA of Baltimore and county staff. “Twenty years ago, the community had a dream they could build something like this. And they made it happen.”
The parks department director added: “I think every kid that gets a chance to play on it — they’re going to realize how special it is.”
Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.
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Linda Ward · July 27, 2020 at 2:03 pm
Almost $800,000 for lighting for one year!! Holy crap! Could have built a lot of affordable housing for that amount, year after year after year.
The estimated cost of lighting three ballfields and related parking areas at the Fauquier County Central Sports Complex at Meetze and Old Auburn roads southeast of Warrenton."
lisacshearin77 · July 25, 2020 at 2:20 am
You are right, that The stadium was built in 1937 and was originally known as Dinamo Stadium. In 1950, it was rebuilt after damages sustained during World War II. During 1980–1986, it was gradually renovated without closing.
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