The synthetic turf field at the Graham Road Community Building in Falls Church is going to be replaced.
As part of its consent agenda, the Fairfax County School Board voted on Oct. 22 to award a $93,000 contract for the project to GTR Turf, Inc., a Fredericksburg-based contractor that specializes in artificial turf and grass.
Though the school board is responsible for awarding the contract, the funding will come from the Fairfax County Park Authority as part of a partnership between the county and Fairfax County Public Schools.
“The synthetic turf field at the Graham Road Community Building is one of the few playing fields available for community use in the area,” Providence District School Board representative Karl Frisch said in a statement. “I am grateful for our continued partnership with the Fairfax County Park Authority, which makes the funding for important projects like this possible.”
GTR Turf was one of five companies that FCPS deemed qualified to compete for a contract to construct the Graham Road turf field during the bidding period, which closed on Sept. 30. The four other contractors all submitted bids proposing construction costs that exceeded $100,000, ranging from $129,397 from Astro Turf LLC to $169,880 from Hellas Construction, Inc.
Located at 3033 Graham Road, the Graham Road Community Building housed Graham Road Elementary School until the school was relocated to its current site along Route 29 in 2012.
Governed by a shared-use agreement between the county and FCPS, the building now provides education, recreation, and other public services, according to Frisch. It serves as a School Age Child Care program center and a Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services drop-in site for students in grades seven through 12.
Construction to replace the Graham Road Community Building’s existing turf field was allowed to start on Oct. 22 after the contract was awarded. The project is expected to be fully completed on Feb. 5, 2021, according to FCPS’s invitation to bid.
Image via Google Maps
The Fairfax County Park Authority Board plans to present an award to Meridian Group for helping to create Quantum Field in Tysons.
The Meridian Group, which is behind the new Tysons development called The Boro, teamed up with the county’s Board of Supervisors and Park Authority to transform a former parking area into Quantum Field as a proffer agreement for The Boro.
The multisport athletic field fits into the vision for “a robust park system” in Tysons, according to the county’s announcement about the award on Tuesday (July 28).
The development company will receive the Harold L. Strickland Partnership and Collaboration Award, which is named after a former Park Authority board member and honors teamwork to add state-of-the-art facilities, during a virtual ceremony in November.
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Through this unique partnership between developers and park planners, Meridian agreed Quantum Field would be operated by the Park Authority and built in accordance with FCPA standards. The agreement stipulated that Meridian would maintain ownership of the property and grant an easement to the FCPA, outlining the terms of maintenance and operation of the field. This partnership allowed Meridian and FCPA to overcome challenges with the site related to utility easements and the field’s location adjacent to the Capital Beltway.
The field, which opened in 2019, is built with synthetic turf and has a playing surface of 180 feet by 360 feet. It offers play for five sports and includes black vinyl perimeter chain-link fencing, concrete walkways, bleacher pads, parking lot lighting, sound-containing walls and landscaping.
Because it was built with synthetic turf, Quantum Field allows for year-round use and is not affected by weather to the degree of natural turf fields. Lighting allows for extended use into the evening hours. Concrete walkways make it accessible for all; landscaping enhances its aesthetic appearance; and the sound barriers benefit area residents who are not using the field.
The field, along with the county’s other athletic fields, is open for organized and permitted use as long as people follow COVID-19 guidelines from the governor, local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the county.
Synthetic fields can accommodate up to 250 people as long as people keep 10 feet away from each other when possible and officials, coaches and players undergo a COVID-19 screening before entering the fields.
Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority/Flickr
A Tysons citizen group recently sent a list of concerns to Fairfax County officials.
The Greater Tysons Citizens Association was founded in 2008 and is made up of residents and organizations in the Tysons area, including the Vienna Town Council and McLean Citizens Association.
In the letter dated Jan. 29, the association noted that with the upcoming 10-year-anniversary of the Tysons Comprehensive Plan, the group is worried about the impact of Tysons’ transformation on surrounding communities.
The letter was sent to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission and School Board.
The letter goes on to outline four main concerns:
- traffic congestion
- reaching the goal of 20 urban athletic fields in Tysons
- infrastructure funding and Tysons school planning
- recent interpretations of the Tysons Comprehensive Plan
The association then provided requests for each item.
For traffic congestion, the association would like the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to look into short- and long-term solutions with community members.
As the athletic fields, the group would like the Board of Supervisors to revisit a follow-on motion decision that allowed a developer of The View to make a monetary contribution to be allocated to a community center.
“We urge investigating and pursuing other funding sources for construction of the Tysons community center,” the letter says. “We urge the PC and BOS to return to the long-accepted practice of requiring in-kind contributions rather than monetary contributions when the calculated field contribution exceeds 1/3 field.”
The association had several suggestions for the school issue:
- complete the revamp of the methodologies used in the capital improvement and proffer formula for better school population projections
- increase staffing in the facilities branch of FCPS
- identify and implement new options to acquire land and fund construction of new schools
Finally, the group requested that the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission have an in-depth review regarding interpretations of the comprehensive plan and any “potential ramifications.”
Tysons Reporter received a copy of the letter from the McLean Citizens Association (MCA).
Sally Horn, the chair of the Greater Tysons Citizens Association, is set to discuss the letter with the MCA tonight.
The MCA meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue).
Tysons may soon get a new athletic field in connection to The Mile development.
The developers behind the previously approved The Mile project now want to create a youth-sized athletic facility in the Old Courthouse neighborhood of Tysons to fulfill one of the development’s proffers.
The developers want to create the field on a site along Boone Blvd that currently has an 8-story-tall office building and surface parking lot. The site was previously approved for an extended stay hotel that was never constructed.
The developers propose to convert the parking lot into a field measuring 180 feet by 330 feet. The field would be surrounded by a black chain link fence between 10-24 feet high to prevent balls from escaping and include portable toilets, bleachers and bike racks.
The parking lot would get reconfigured to serve both the athletic field and office building, which houses Cel-Sci Corporation and Liberty Tax Service. While the developers would own the field, Fairfax County Park Authority would operate and maintain the park.
“So we’re able to take advantage of that which I think is a creative way to find land in Tysons Corner that is much needed for athletic fields,” Elizabeth Baker, a senior land use planner for Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh, told the Fairfax County Planning Commission last night (Wednesday).
Baker said that while the athletic field is “youth-sized” because it is smaller than a full-size athletic field, she expects adults will use it as well.
“I think it’s a field that is going to be well used,” Baker said. “Obviously it’s an older building. It was built 40 years ago so it a site that’s been around for awhile, but is a large parking lot with excess parking in it.”
At-Large Commissioner Mary Cortina asked if restroom buildings could replace the portable toilets at the site.
“The Park Authority model of providing those porta-potties I think is really a holdover — even though we continue to do it — from another era when we were more suburban and there were no services in some of those park areas,” Cortina said. “This is right in the heart of Tysons.”
Baker said that having portable toilets at the site is no different than Ken Lawrence Park or Quantum Field in Tysons, “so it is meeting the standards for the Park Authority and that’s what we’ve provided here.”
Still, Cortina made a plea to the Park Authority to do away with portable toilets in the future.
“As we’re doing urban design we can’t forget the toileting needs,” Cortina said. “To continue to have these porta-potties throughout this urban development, it just seems to be incongruous with the rest of the streetscaping et cetera.”
A representative from the Park Authority said that restroom buildings are considered for fields and parks connected to larger developments and that portable toilets are appropriate for standalone parks.
Baker reassured Cortina that the portable toilets are in a corner of the site so that they won’t be visible to people walking or driving along Boone Blvd.
The Planning Commission voted to approve the proposal, which now heads to the Board of Supervisors.
“This new synthetic turf field will be a welcome addition to the Park Authority’s inventory of playing fields in Tysons,” Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, the commissioner for the Providence District, said.
First image via Google Maps, images 2-3 via Fairfax County
Update 1:30 p.m. — A ribbon-cutting for a new athletic field in Tysons on Saturday, June 22, as part of a broader mission to make Tysons more park friendly.
The ribbon-cutting is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. at the new Quantum Field, tucked into the southeast corner of the Beltway-Leesburg Pike at 7980 Quantum Drive.
The field and adjacent parking lot are the result of a proffer agreement with The Meridian Group, the developers of the nearby Boro project. The Boro includes 700 residences along with commercial and office spaces and a movie theater.
“Meridian designed and constructed a synthetic turf athletic field with a playing surface of dimensions 180 feet by 360 feet to accommodate five sports, as well as black vinyl perimeter chain link fencing, concrete walkways, bleacher pads, athletic field and parking lot lighting, sound containing walls and landscaping,” a press release said. “The field development was substantially completed in May.”
Athletic fields have been identified by Fairfax County staff as a critical need for Tysons, particularly in the increasingly residential areas along Leesburg Pike.
As more developments come online in Tysons, more athletic fields are planned along Leesburg Pike. In April, developers of The Mile project submitted plans for a synthetic turf field at 8229 Boone Blvd.
Photo via Fairfax County Government
As Tysons grows, Fairfax County officials say the plan is for the small Raglan Road Park between Tysons and Vienna to be repurposed into “active recreation uses.”
Currently, Fairfax County Park Authority owns 11.82 acres of Raglan Road Park, a forested area adjacent to the Old Courthouse Spring Branch Stream Valley. The area recently saw some construction with the opening of the new Vesper Trail, but more amenities could be on the way.
David Bowden, director of the Park Planning and Development Division, said the park is one of the only properties the Park Authority owned prior to the widespread redevelopment of Tysons.
“Expansion of that park property is an area identified as [a priority] to support Tysons,” Bowden said.
“What we need in Tysons is an athletic field,” Bowden added. “We need multi-use spaces for basketball or tennis courts, or even pickleball now.”
Raglan Road Park and the Freedom Hill Park to the south are both identified in the 2014 Tysons Park System Conception Plan as locations for some active recreation facilities. According to the plan:
The park is mostly forested upland, with a small clearing of about half an acre. Raglan Road Park is contiguous with the Old Courthouse Spring Branch Stream Valley, though the park does not have any regulatory Resource Protection Area (RPA) land on it. Prior to construction of any recreational uses at Raglan Road Park, additional land will need to be acquired to complete the park. This is due to the irregular shape of the park, and the land area needed to construct facilities.
But Judy Pedersen, public information officer for the Park Authority, noted that active recreation uses don’t have to be incompatible with preserving natural spaces.
“There are combinations uses of active natural areas and streams,” said Pedersen. “The urban park model tries to do a little bit of both. But the reality is we do need active recreation facilities in this area.”
Any moves towards redeveloping the park as an active space are still in the formative stages. As part of their proffers for The View project, the Clemente Development Company plans to contribute $750,000 to construct an athletic field at Raglan Road Park.
Pedersen said that other priorities for creating active use spaces in the area include trails to connect to nearby neighborhoods and playgrounds.
“This is all very conceptual,” said Bowden. “It all depends on how much land we ultimately acquire as part of that park. But eventually, it’s going to be more than it is today. It will provide for the park network in Tysons.”
Photo via Facebook
A hotel planned near Leesburg Pike has been nixed by the developers in favor of a new athletic field.
The field is proposed for 8229 Boone Blvd, a street parallel to Leesburg Pike and halfway between Chain Bridge Road and Gallows Road. P.S. Business Parks owns the property.
The athletic field is part of fulfilling requirements associated with the developer’s The Mile project northeast of Tysons Galleria.
The application notes that the field will include synthetic turf, field lighting, bleachers and other equipment. Parking for the field will be located in the Tycon II and Tycon III office buildings next door.
According to the application:
The proposed athletic field will serve the growing needs of the Tysons community. It is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan, which calls for developers to provide athletic fields in Tysons… The proposed soccer field will satisfy the field expectation associated with the rezoning and development of The Mile, a residential mixed use development in the North Central District.
It’s a move that will likely be popular with local citizens groups, which have called for more athletic fields to be added throughout Tysons.