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Votes

Wilkoff, Danforth Are Named

All sports facility issue aired at School Board meeting.

The Alexandria School Board ended the year by electing Mark Wilkoff to remain as chair and Molly Danforth to replace Gwendolyn Lewis as vice chair.

The vote was unanimous for Wilkoff and 5-3 for Danforth. Board member Arthur Schmalz was not at the meeting.

After the election of chair and vice chair, the Board conducted a variety of old and new business. They agreed to designate A. K. Johnson, the T. C. Williams athletic director and Margee Walsh, the director of secondary programs, as representatives to the Alexandria All-City Sports Facility Committee.

“This is a private group, meaning that their meetings are not public but they apparently are using public funds,” said Board member Sally Ann Baynard. “Linwood Campbell came and spoke to the Facilities Committee and asked that A. K. Johnson participate. We feel that A. K. knows quite a lot about sports but that Margee Walsh should also participate because there’s a lot more to this than just sports…We feel that the schools should be a lot more involved in this process.”

A. Melvin Miller, a member of the All City Sports Facility Committee, said, “We certainly are a private group. But we don’t have any public money or any other kind of money. We came together as a private group of citizens because we saw a need for an all city sports facility. That facility will certainly be available for the high school to use but will mostly be used by the city’s recreation department because there is a great need for more fields in the city.

"We have simply advocated that the facility be studied and built and the City Council agreed to at least conduct a feasibility study. That’s where we are in the process and we will continue to advocate as private citizens.”

THE PUBLIC MONEY Baynard referred to was designated by City Council for the feasibility study and is in the department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Activities budget. Kirk Kincannon, the director of that department, said, “Council gave us $100,000 to use for a feasibility study. We are just finishing the scope of work and are going to present that to six or seven architects and engineers who are approved to work with the city. Those firms will put together a bid package and we will select one of them to conduct the feasibility study.”

The study will include looking at the four different locations that were studied by the recreation department earlier this year. “If the consultant determines, as we did, that Hensley is the most appropriate location for the sports facility, they will take some soil samples and look at that location in greater detail,” Kincannon said. “They will consider traffic impact and many other issues that we have not studied.”

By the end of October, Kincannon hopes to have the consultant’s report and will present that information to Council.

“We need to have it finished by then so that, if the facility is feasible, we can get it into our capital projects request for the budget cycle.”