Future of old Clover Hill High School not set, board says

At its Dec. 14 meeting, the School Board told youth sports league leaders concerned about a potential SportsQuest takeover of the old Clover Hill High School’s athletic facilities that no decisions had been made about the future of the school.

Mike Hairfield, commissioner of the Chesterfield Quarterback League (CQL), said his league was the oldest youth volunteer sports league in the state and had been in the county since 1958.

“We have a disturbing thing that’s happening to our league,” he said. “It’s called SportsQuest.”

In July, Chesterfield County announced the signing of a $4.3-million agreement with Shaw Industries and SportsQuest, LLC, to advance the first phase of a planned $250 million project.  The project, located on 250 acres at the intersection of Route 288 and the Powhite Parkway, will include a hotel, office and retail development, an amphitheater, an aquatics center, an ice-plex, a velodrome indoor biking facility, an inline track, a high-performance training facility for 30 different sports and a field house for indoor court sports. Phase one includes 17 rectangular athletic fields using synthetic turf technology.  

The agreement gave the county Monday-Thursday use of some fields and use of all 17 synthetic turf fields one weekend per year for 20 years.

At the Dec. 14 meeting, Hairfield said CQL had moved games from other schools to the old Clover Hill High School, which was replaced by the new Clover Hill High School that opened this year. Now, he said, “we find out that SportsQuest wants the whole complex.”

“The way we feel is the county’s trying to get rid of youth sports,” he said. “We feel hurt.” Also, the league isn’t happy about the county’s deal with SportsQuest, he said, and “I’m not the only league that feels that way.”

Hairfield said he thought he needed to bring the situation to everyone’s attention.

Blake Eller, president of Chesterfield Baseball Clubs (CBC), said: “We’re getting blinded by SportsQuest. … It’s turning into trying to take all the youth from all the leagues in the county.”

The old Clover Hill High School is public property, he said, and whatever decision the School Board makes about the future of the school should be made in public.

School Board Chairman David Wyman said the board had, at an earlier work session, talked with the group that’s exploring options for the old Clover Hill High School. The options will be discussed publicly, he said, and the options are such that there’s “going to have to be a lot of discussion.”

Bermuda Member Marshall Trammell said the School Board has not given any money to SportsQuest, and there have been “absolutely no decisions made” on the future of the old Clover Hill High School.

“We are very sensitive to our public and the investment our public makes in our facilities,” he said.

Matoaca Member Omarh Rajah said he would never have a vote for “some private organization to come in and root out a youth organization.”

“I believe in our youth athletics and I want them to continue to flourish,” he said.

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