Details being finalized on Syd Thrift Athletic Complex
by Tom Chillemi
The Syd Thrift Athletic Complex major site plan received a unanimous preliminary approval of the Middlesex County Planning Commission on November 8 following a public hearing.
The 24-acre site behind Middlesex High School rearranges the fields for football/soccer, baseball and softball.
The facility will have tennis courts and a regulation track and field facility, which will allow MHS to host these two sports.
“This is long overdue,” said commission member Bob Walker, whose daughter ran track at MHS. For numerous years MHS has not been able to host home track events because its deteriorating track did not meet specifications.
The tennis courts will have lights. School superintendent James Lane said the school board would like to make the courts open to the public, if security issues can be addressed.
The athletic complex will have a brick press box behind the bleachers. In addition, the ticket booth, concession stand and restrooms will be constructed of brick.
In July, the Middlesex Board of Supervisors appropriated $150,000 plus closing costs to purchase 7 acres of land on the east side of the current football field. This will be the site of a practice field for football and soccer. The total cost was $225,000, and The Friends of Middlesex County Public Schools donated $75,000 toward the purchase.
An emergency road will access the sports complex from Gloucester Road (Routes 33/17 Business) in Saluda.
The primary parking lot will hold 211 vehicles and overflow parking on a designated grass area can accommodate another 92 vehicles for a total of 303 parking spaces—enough for 1,000 persons during an event.
The planning commission’s approval is conditioned on six requirements being met.
Wastewater will be treated and then disposed of in a conventional drain field. The Virginia Department of Health is currently reviewing the plans for the primary and reserve drain fields.
A landscaping buffer is required along the south and west boundaries.
The plan must be approved by VDOT.
Lighting from the tennis courts cannot spill onto adjacent property more than is permitted by the county lighting ordinance.
An erosion and sediment control permit and a Virginia storm water management permit must be secured.
When the final details are worked out, they can be approved by the county planning director.
School superintendent Dr. James Lane informed school board members on November 12 of the planning commission’s decision and indicated the school board will be presented with information and feedback.
Dr. Lane added that when final design documents have been approved, the project will be put out for bid, which should be in the coming months.