The push to renovate athletic facilities at Gar-Field Senior High School got a boost last week, thanks to $76,680 in proffers from the developer of the Prince William Commons.
The money will be used to upgrade Gar-Field's practice fields, create a girls varsity team room and help pay for the cost of renovating the school's 27-year-old track.
Every time a house is built in the county, developers are asked to help offset the costs of services--such as schools, sewers and police--for that house. Those contributions are typically made in cash but often include land or other property.
Gar-Field Principal Roger Dallek said the money had been accumulating until it was enough to use for some substantial projects.
"When it gets to $50,000, $60,000, $70,000, that's when you can do something significant with it," Dallek said.
Dallek said he and the staff of the athletic department picked the projects that would affect both the students and the community. The practice fields are used not only by students but also by community teams. The girls varsity team room will give female students a place to meet; when the school was built, the team rooms were for boys only.
Supervisor John D. Jenkins (D-Neabsco) was instrumental in getting the money for the project, school officials said.
"We've always tried to help when we have development that impacts on our schools," Jenkins said.
The money, although a welcome addition, will represent only a fraction of what it will take to renovate the school's aging asphalt track. A group of volunteers, calling itself On the Right Track, has committed to raising the $80,000 to $90,000 needed for putting a rubber surface on the track.
As it is, the track is too cracked and uneven to host major meets or to be used for proper training, said Tina Bowes, a volunteer with the group. So far, the group has raised $28,000 to $30,000, she said. Many contributions have come from local businesses and fraternal organizations, such as a McDonald's restaurant and the Dale City Moose Lodge
"We've just had some really good support from the community," Bowes said.
To participate in the fund-raising effort, call the school at 703-730-7000, or send contributions to: On the Right Track, P.O. Box 309, Woodbridge, Va. 22194-0309.