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December 12, 2018

Supervisors mull Central Sports Complex options

The Central Sports Complex property has access to Meetze and Old Auburn (top) roads east of Warrenton.
Photo/Don Del Rosso
County Parks and Recreation Director Larry Miller and Assistant Director Gary Rzepecki review the plan.
We’re closer than we’ve ever been. We’re getting positive feedback from everybody we’re talking to about at least a part of this coming to fruition.
— Parks and Recreation Director Larry Miller
Work Session
• Topic: Planned Central Sports Complex on Meetze Road, just southeast of Warrenton.

• When: 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13.

• Where: Warren Green Building, 10 Hotel St., Warrenton.

• Agency: County board of supervisors.

• Details: The county-owned, 74-acre plan includes six soccer/football fields, five baseball fields, multipurpose trail, horse trail, two concessions/restroom structures.

• Construction cost: Up $10.4 million, depending on scope and timing of work.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
After almost two decades of fits and starts, the planned Central Sports Complex just southeast of Warrenton could get a big boost this week.

Fauquier’s board of supervisors Thursday will conduct a work session focused on scope and funding issues related to the 74-acre project along Meetze Road.

The work session will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the Warren Green Building at 10 Hotel St. in Warrenton.

Depending on board actions, portions of the planned complex could be completed within about 18 months, county Parks and Recreation Director Larry Miller said.

“We’re closer than we’ve ever been,” Mr. Miller said of the project, first discussed in the late 1990s. “We’re getting positive feedback from everybody we’re talking to about at least a part of this coming to fruition.”

The plan includes six rectangular sports fields, five baseball fields, two concessions/restroom structures, a horse trail, a multipurpose trail that would link to nearby existing or planned trails, parking and an internal road that would connect Meetze and Old Auburn roads.

The county advertised the project in “pieces,” receiving qualified bids from three companies — S.W. Rodgers Co. of Gainesville, Shirley Contracting Co. of Lorton and Faulconer Construction Co. of Charlottesville.

The county in 2001 paid the owners of S.W. Rodgers, who live in Fauquier, $520,000 for the property.

The “base” bid portion of the project includes three soccer/football fields, three baseball fields, parking and the road to serve those fields, Meetze Road access improvements, a portion of the multipurpose trail and site grading for the entire complex.

S.W. Rodgers submitted the lowest bid — $8.3 million — for that work. Shirley Construction and Faulconer bid $9.5 million and $12.4 million, respectively.

To construct the remaining sports fields and associated infrastructure, including the completion of an onsite road connecting Meetze and Old Auburn roads, would cost about $2.1 million, according to the S.W. Rodgers submission.

That would put the company’s total bid at about $10.4 million.

The bids don’t include contingency, construction management and engineering costs. The extent and timing of construction figure into those expenses.

Fauquier has budgeted $9.1 million, including $7.1 million in debt, for the project.

“I think the conversation on Thursday is going to be do we have enough money to do at least six (soccer/football) fields and complete the roads, and then maybe come back and do the baseball fields later,” board of supervisors Chairman Chris Butler (Lee District) said. “It just makes it a little bit more useable, if you had a total of six fields for some of these bigger events.”

With six multipurpose fields, “you can host those soccer tournaments, where you have four games going and then two practice fields for warmups,” added Mr. Butler, who works as S.W. Rodgers’ safety director.

But he expressed misgivings about a piecemeal approach to infrastructure construction because “it leaves so much unfinished.”

“It wouldn’t be easy to use,” Mr. Butler said of the complex. “You wouldn’t have the road going to Old Auburn (Road). You would have so many missing pieces.”

At the very least, Supervisor Chris Granger (Center) would like to see all of the planned playing fields, parking, roads and trails completed the day the complex opens.

“That’s my baseline minimum,” said Mr. Granger. “I’d like to get as much done as we can.”

To help pay for the complex, he supports using $2.1 million identified in the county’s capital improvement plan for relocation of the Fauquier County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court from its Main Street building to the circuit courthouse on Culpeper Street.

Among other things, the relocation plan would reduce security costs associated with maintaining the juvenile and domestic relations court at the Main Street structure.

“I don’t think it’s going anywhere,” Mr. Granger said of the courthouse renovation proposal. “That’s just me talking.”

The board last month made a $2.5-million offer to buy the vacant BB&T building on Warrenton’s Main Street for government offices. The bank countered, asking $3.3 million for the 21 Main St. property.

For tax purposes, the county values the building and 1.25-acre property at $4.1 million. Warrenton Realtor Bill Chipman’s firm has it listed at $3.5 million.

The 30,000-square-foot building has remained vacant since Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T shut the branch in July.

To accommodate the juvenile and domestic relations court in the circuit courthouse, the county would need to relocate the treasurer’s office, commissioner of revenue’s office, community development department and geographic information system office.

Under one scenario, those agencies would shift to the BB&T building. 

“I never supported” that idea, Mr. Butler said. “I know of at least four of us (on the five-member board of supervisors) that no longer support anything to do with the purchase of BB&T or its use.”

He described the concept as “dead in the water.”

During Thursday’s work session, the supervisors and county staff also will discuss the additional cost of restrooms, two concessions/restroom structures and ballfields lighting for the Central Sports Complex.

Mr. Miller will provide estimates for those components.

After the construction of ballfields, he ranks the installation of restrooms “the next priority.”

Establishing a sports complex accomplishes several objectives, Mr. Miller explained.

For one thing, it would allow the county to host tournaments, he said.

But, “if you’re really going to try to attract the type of tournaments that we haven’t been able to attract to Fauquier County, permanent restrooms are going to help in that draw.”

In other matters Thursday, the supervisors will decide whether to:

• Accept a 28.4-acre donation off Route 28 near Catlett from Morning Star of Catlett Inc. for a future community park. For tax purposes, the county values the agriculturally zoned property at $139,500.

• Award a $100,000-contract to Richmond-based Timmons Group to do an infrastructure study for the Bealeton, New Baltimore, Opal and Remington service districts.

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.


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brandonj · December 13, 2018 at 4:32 pm
To be fair, this is contingent on matching PATH foundation funding and sounds like it's been in the works for some time. I agree there are probably better things to spend money on, but PATH does a lot of good things for wellness. Given the rising cost of healthcare, I think semi-rural communities like Fauquier have one advantage the sprawl of NOVA doesn't, and that's green space for local food and activities.

Curious why they think we need more soccer fields. Are the WARF fields at capacity? Admittedly the baseball fields at the older Warrenton area schools are in pretty bad shape and have poor drainage.

I wish they would consider a small stocked fishing pond (few acres or so would be perfect).

Maybe what this complex really needs is a statue of Robert E Lee or Stonewall Jackson!
Tony Bentley · December 13, 2018 at 3:45 pm
What happened to the discussion on repairing our aging schools or updating the library. Education being pushed to the back again, while sports take a front row seat.
Tony Bentley · December 13, 2018 at 9:06 am
Rover 530 - "It's curious that the owners of S.W. Rodgers got over a half-million dollars for the property and may now stand to profit from the development and construction of the same parcel." I thought that was odd too!
Demosthenes · December 13, 2018 at 8:53 am
Ugh, another rant from Jeffersonian. This time it is on the oppression of building soccer fields...

Jeffersonian, as you point out, the government exists for the common benefit of the people. A sports complex is good for young people in our community as it will provide them with character-building experiences that make them better citizens and neighbors. It is also good for our property values. This project benefits us, even if you and I never go there ourselves.
Rover 530 · December 12, 2018 at 9:55 pm
The people at the Black Horse Inn are going to love this. On the financial side, there doesn't appear to be money in the county coffers to pay for this. We're going to go further into debt to make this happen. Supervisors who want to run again next year will have to weigh taking on more debt and possibly increasing the tax rate against the recreational wants of county citizens. It's curious that the owners of S.W. Rodgers got over a half-million dollars for the property and may now stand to profit from the development and construction of the same parcel.
Jeffersonian American · December 12, 2018 at 8:37 pm
It is an outrage the taxpaying citizens of Fauquier County are expected to foot the very costly bill for these kinds of massive sports fields infrastructure and soccer complexes. There are plenty of high taxes and New Jersey-styled development and Agenda-21 Public Schools in other neighboring counties with their accompanying, terrible quality of life. We already have an outrageous level of oppressive taxation here in Fauquier County- let the parents of little Ibrahim and teenaged Mariel pay to build such outrageous cost facilities on private land in a private, for-profit partnership or business entity if they demand urban New Jersey-style soccer complexes and suburban sprawl kinds of facilities in Fauquier County. For those taxpaying citizens who are fed up with ever-increasing taxation at the hands of our local government, may I remind you of the second half of Section 3 of the Virginia Declaration of Rights:

SEC. 3. That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration; and that, when any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.
InTheSouth · December 12, 2018 at 4:09 pm
Wonderful complex for the central part of the county. Hope it is done with safety suggestions below. When will children in the southern Fauquier County benefit from tax money?
heisehay · December 12, 2018 at 3:49 pm
Great news for the county youth to have a sports complex. Please put the kids safety first and build the bike path first before any one gets injured or worse on Meetze Road biking.
Tony Bentley · December 12, 2018 at 11:36 am
Is there a flashing yellow light or traffic lights proposed on Meetze Road at the entrance to the complex?
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