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Washington County Board of Education OKs fees for stadium use

May 02, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Athletic leagues and community groups will now be charged fees to use high school stadiums in Washington County.

The Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to impose hourly charges and other fees ranging from $25 to $500 each. The new policy is different from the one presented to the board last month and charges less for some organizations.

Boyd Michael, assistant superintendent for school operations, said the hourly rate charged to youth groups, like athletic leagues and the Boy Scouts of America, was reduced.

The charge originally was $125 per hour and $125 for each consecutive hour. But in the policy adopted Tuesday, those groups would pay $50 for each additional hour beyond the first one.

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"That's a huge change in reducing the cost to our (youth groups)," Michael said.

Every public high school in the county, except Washington County Technical High School, has a stadium. Michael has said that stadiums have not been used regularly by community groups and this is the first policy that will set standard fees for use.

Warren Barrett, principal of Hancock Middle-Senior High School, has said the Washington County Junior Football League used the high school's stadium on Tuesdays in the fall. A member of that league, the Hancock Raiders, has played its games there for years.

Board President Roxanne R. Ober said Hancock's mayor, Daniel A. Murphy, and a representative from the Junior Football League were concerned about the proposed fees.

"We wanted to make the fields and stadiums accessible to more students," Board Member Bernadette M. Wagner said. "That's why we changed the fee structure, to benefit more students."

Michael said Tuesday that fee waivers can be requested and are subject to approval.

School and school-related groups, like the PTA, will not be charged a fee to use a stadium, according to policy.

Youth and Little League groups would be charged $125 for the first hour of stadium use and $50 for ever hour after that. A $25 custodial fee and a $30 building utility fee also will be charged hourly to those groups. If stadium lighting is used, that costs an additional $50 per hour.

These groups also will be required to pay a $200 deposit before using the facilities.

Tutoring and instructional groups, like Hagerstown Community College, will be charged $250 for a minimum of two hours at a stadium. The cost for each additional hour will be $125, the policy states. Custodial fees ($50 for two hours) and building utility fees ($60 for two hours) also will be charged. If stadium lighting is used, the charge will be $100 for two hours and $50 for each hour beyond that.

A stadium deposit of $500 would be required for these groups.

Service clubs and nonprofit adult groups not covered in other categories and for-profit activities that benefit a person or corporation will be charged the same amount of money to use high school stadiums. The policy states those groups will be charged $500 for a minimum of four hours of use, and $125 for each additional hour. A $100 custodial fee and a $120 building utility fee will be charged for those four hours, and if stadium lighting is used the charge will be $200 for four hours.

A deposit of $500 would be required for service clubs and the nonprofits, while the for-profit groups would be charged a $750 deposit, the policy states.

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