For more than 10 years, Col. Zadok Magruder High School girls volleyball coach Scott Zanni and former Sherwood coach Bonnie Gilchrist have run a summer volleyball camp in conjunction with the Olney Boys and Girls Club, a non-profit youth sports organization.
With a variety of age-group and talent-level offerings, the annual multi-session event has expanded and in turn, so has the need to acquire gymnasium space.
“We’ve been at a lot of different places over the years like Sherwood [High], Farquhar [Middle], Rosa Parks [Middle], Watkins Mill [High] and Walter Johnson [High],” Zanni said. “We’ve always had to rent them.”
The camp, like every other community organization wishing to use space at one of the county’s public high schools, must submit an application, receive approval and rent from the Community Use of Public Facilities’ Interagency Coordinating Board.
Sports and non-athletic facilities — inside and out — are secured by an hourly fee that varies based upon the renting location and type and age-group of the organization (the school system, non-profits and youth groups receive priority), according Ginny Gong, the executive director of CUPF. Historical users, such as the volleyball camp, also receive priority.
“The schools are just one big piece of managing community use in public space and government buildings,” Gong said. “... We have over 6,000 user groups that represent sports, home-owner associations, the scouts, religious activities and a whole variety of school activities.
“And through policy established by ICB ... there is a pecking order. The schools always get first crack.”
Montgomery County Public Schools sanctioned events, such as athletic contests and tournaments, do not have to rent space; they only are required to pay for building service workers and/or security staff at a rate of $29.50/hour and $32.50/hour, respectively, according to the CUPF’s website.
“We have a partnership with ICB,” Gaithersburg High School Athletic Director Jason Woodward said. “We all let ICB know when our athletic events are so they know what days are available to the community organizations.”
For a non-profit organization and/or a county resident wanting to rent one of Montgomery County Public Schools’ synthetic turf fields at Richard Montgomery, Walter Johnson or Thomas S. Wootton high schools, the rate would be $125/hour (with light use it goes up to $160/hour), according to the CUPF website. A commercial for-profit entity and non-county resident could pay $200/hour ($235/hour with lights).
At a Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning-managed field, such as Montgomery Blair High School and Fairland Regional Park, the rates per hour are between $100-185. For natural grass locations, the hourly cost is spread between $50-210, provided the individual school grants permission prior CUPF review. Renting a gymnasium ranges from $10/hour to $72/hour depending on the time, day and type of organization.
A full list of fees and rental rates can be found on the CUPF website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cupf.
“If someone like [the Damascus Sports Association] wanted to play games at Damascus High School they would have to ask the [athletic director] if it was OK and then work with ICB,” said MCPS Director of System-Wide Athletics Dr. William “Duke” Beattie, who added that community members are free to walk or run around high school tracks when other events are not scheduled.