Mark Bailey 0

Equality Means Turf Fields for ALL Loudoun High Schools

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Dear Parents, Friends, Coaches, Sponsors, and Athletes of Freedom, Briar Woods, Dominion and Heritage High Schools;

Over the last 10 years a number of new high schools have been constructed in Loudoun County with at least one, and in some cases two, artificial turf playing fields being installed as a simple matter of course. During this same time period, several older high schools have received renovations to their respective stadiums and practice facilities to replace natural grass with artificial surfaces. The combined effect of the County's efforts has provided 11 of the 15 Loudoun high schools with artificial surfaces that allow practices and games to be held during inclement weather. Additionally, and during this same time period, Fairfax County made the strategic decision to provide artificial turf at ALL of its respective high schools.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is keenly aware of the long-term maintenance expense savings of artificial surfaces. The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is also keenly aware of the revenue-generating potential of these fields given the dearth of quality fields for the various youth and club sports programs throughout Loudoun County. Schools with artificial surfaces are actively renting their excess field space to outside organizations as way to bolster school budgets and defray operating costs.

If your student athlete attends Freedom, Briar Woods, Dominion, or Heritage High Schools, then you understand the inequality, and you have tired of the inconvenience of practicing in a gym or a parking lot or at a neighboring school with an artificial surface because your school has a grass field. You are growing more and more accustomed to having games and practices cancelled, and it seems like an endless problem scrambling to find somewhere for the teams at these four schools to train and play when the County will not allow activities to occur on natural grass due to the damage that would be caused.

These four high schools and their respective athletic booster clubs are combining their efforts to solicit the support of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and the Loudoun County School Board to replace the grass facilities within the next 18-24 months instead of being forced to wait until FY 2022 when the County has tentatively planned for budgeted renovations and field replacements.

But politicians really only listen to a constituency when the loudest of the voices come together and stand united as one. This is not a matter of creating or finding the estimated $6-$7 million to conduct this necessary work. The money is already budgeted. We are simply asking to move this work up in the County's schedule so that inequality stops much sooner rather than much later.

We are asking for your support! Please sign this petition so that we can present it to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and the Loudoun County School Board and demand equality for our students, our athletes, and our communities. Our tax dollars have paid for new and renovated school facilities throughout the County. We are only seeking what is ours by right and what is ours through equitable treatment.

Our student athletes deserve to compete on an equitable playing field. The time to stop kicking this can down the road is NOW. Your support is necessary and definitely appreciated.

Thank you!

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