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August 17, 2020 - Question and Answer

Questions Related to Construction:

What is the latest budget estimate for this stadium project?

The current budget is approximately $4.63 million. 

What is the status of the design of a stadium fence for Woods Place and Bishop Lane neighbors?

The fencing is in the schematic design phase and after several community meetings, a consensus has emerged for a ten-foot-high wooden fence with brick piers on the property corners. The DSUP has stated the main point of the fence is to provide a visual barrier and to prevent youth from jumping the fence to enter the neighbor’s property. 

The height of ten feet accomplishes both goals. We are entering design development and are awaiting feedback from the City’s planning and zoning staff.

What was the thinking behind putting the Press Box on the visitor’s side of the field?

The current Press Box is on the Home side of the field and it is smaller than the new one. During the design phase, it became apparent that the new, larger Press Box would fit better on the Visitor’s side because there is more room behind the bleachers for the necessary supports. The sound from speakers was another consideration in the placement of the new Press Box. Currently, the speakers on both the Press Box and on poles are pointed toward the neighbors. The new design replaces all the speakers and points them and the sound away from the neighbors. 

Is there a walkway from the visiting stands to the East Gate?

There is not a walkway from the stands to the East Gate. In the future, visitors attending sporting events will be directed to a walkway near the concession building and around the west side of the track where they will be able to access the visitor stands. 

Although stadium lights are in litigation, is everything being done to accommodate lights in the future if they become possible?

ACPS is committed to complying with the results of the litigation. However, in the case that lights are allowed a conduit will be installed under the field to accommodate both the sound system and lights.  

Will a conduit for the light poles be installed at this time? 

There will be conduits for lights and sound installed beneath the field. This way, if, after litigation, ACPS does move forward with a lighted field, the infrastructure will be in place. 

Will there be room for an install truck to drive around the track without damaging the track?

The installation of conduits will not require that a truck drive around or over the new track. 

If staff and students return to school buildings in November, will the parking garage be available or will construction workers take those spots? 

Due to the fact that the track and field materials are sensitive to weather and work on them must be completed prior to the onset of winter and cold temperatures, the field construction should be done by the middle of November. In addition, the number of crew members is small. However, if for any reason staff and students return to school buildings prior to the completion of this work, accommodations will be made so that the parking garage is available to the education program. 

When will the field be available for use?

The entire project is anticipated to be completed in February 2021and at that time, the field will become available for use. 

Is ACPS considering more tree plantings along all boundaries?  

As part of this project, ACPS engaged in a tree survey of the overall T.C. Williams High School site, not just the Parker-Gray Stadium area, and more trees will be planted including along the western property line as part of this project to enhance the existing tree canopy.

What kind of shade is on the trackside of the buildings?

On the trackside of the building, is a paved plaza with seating and there will be one large tree in a landscaped bed that will provide shade. 

Questions Related to the Oak Tree:

A couple of questions that have come in concerned with the oak tree that will be removed as a part of this project. What has gone on with the oak to date and what are the plans for the future?

The DSUP process began in 2016 and it was approved in 2018, but along the way, there were community meetings and multiple submissions and refinements of the plans.  The final design plans that were approved by the City Council in October 2018, included landscaping and a tree inventory of the entire T.C. Williams High School site. The Parker-Gray Stadium is on a tight site, with an angled property line, creating design challenges when incorporating required setbacks, contours, and drainage. The tree is very large and is in the middle of the only developable area that can accommodate the new buildings. In addition, development around the tree would damage some of the existing root structure, thereby compromising the stability and health of the tree. Unfortunately, it was determined that the tree could not be saved. ACPS worked with the city arborist and will plant approximately 31 additional trees on the site. 

Has a tree expert assessed the age of the tree, health of the tree, and expected life expectancy of the tree?

During the design phase of the modernization of the Parker-Gray Stadium at T.C. Williams, ACPS consulted with an arborist. The arborist found that the oak tree was healthy, however, ACPS was informed that the health of the tree would be impacted by the project development and could not be maintained due to the Oak’s location on the site. 

Did the advisory group and planning and zoning consider all possible ways to avoid removing the tree, such as setting the buildings back, regrading and raising the land for the concession stand, or rebuilding the home bleacher structure?

During the initial design stages of the modernization of the Parker-Gray Stadium at T.C. Williams, consideration went into ways to be able to keep the oak tree near the current concession site and potentially build around it. However, the design team and ACPS Office of Educational Facilities determined that due to the tree’s location, drip line, exposed roots, developable space constraints, and stormwater management, there was no possibility of safely maintaining the tree in its location. 

Was an assessment done to determine if the oak tree could be a part of the design? 

ACPS and the city considered various options in an attempt to save the oak tree, including the layout of the buildings, plaza location, setbacks, accessibility, etc. and were continually challenged while trying to make this the best project for ACPS and the neighbors. The tree is in the middle of the developable footprint, which is already limited on this site. The building footprints take up approximately 60 percent of that, plus the plaza out in front. The roots of the tree are already above ground and any disturbance within the dripline would damage the tree and its health and compromise its stability. We did try to save it, but the size and location did not allow for accommodating that particular tree. ACPS has concentrated upon choosing a design that kept in mind the T.C. Williams neighbors and their concerns. 

Did ACPS consider putting the concession stand and restrooms under the bleachers?

This is a structural issue and a space issue. The Parker-Gray Stadium is an old structure and beneath the bleachers, there is a latticework of steel. Unfortunately, there is no room for a concession stand and restrooms to be located under the bleachers. Furthermore, the bleachers were not part of the project scope due to budgetary and other considerations.

Will a structure be placed in the area to produce shade?

The new design for the restrooms and storage building includes a canopy that extends along the north end of the building’s roof and is 18 feet by nearly 30 feet. This will create a covered plaza area that produces an area of shade.