The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Recent lawsuit puts CHS turf field plans on hold

CHS’ plans for a turf field to be installed in Shepherd Stadium came to a halt this summer when a conflict ensued regarding the sponsors for the new playing surface.

The field, which was originally supposed to be installed this fall, was to be under a contract with Bethesda Lacrosse and Potomac Soccer. However, Montgomery Soccer Inc. (MSI) filed a lawsuit July 1 against the contract, claiming that the monopoly of the field use was unfair. In light of the lawsuit, all plans and contracts for a CHS turf field by the 2014-2015 school year were canceled.

“We are hoping to get a turf field in the future, but there are still several steps that need to happen to make that a reality,” athletic director Scott Rivinius said.

Under the contract, Bethesda Lacrosse and Potomac Soccer would have had jurisdiction to decide with input from CHS how and when the fields were used. In return, they, along with the CHS Booster Club, would pay for it. Similar contracts regarding the use of turf fields are in place at Walter Johnson with Bethesda Soccer, and at Richard Montgomery with Maryland Soccer Enterprises, LLC.

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According to an August 23 Bethesda Magazine Article, MSI claimed that although their bid was higher than the combined offers of Potomac Soccer, Bethesda Lacrosse and the CHS Booster Club, they were overlooked in the selection process due to conflicts of interest within the selection committee.

Rivinius, speaking for Churchill, could not comment on the lawsuit.

The five-year county plan for all high schools to get turf fields to be completed by 2015 means that the school will eventually be going turf. However, with its meticulously well-kept bermuda grass field, CHS asked to be placed last on the list.

Currently, the turf field is exclusively available for use by school teams for games and a limited number of practices. Preseason scrimmages and daily practices are not permitted to be held on the stadium field in an effort to keep the grass in good shape.

“Last year we rescheduled six games, not because of lightning but because the field was too wet to play on,” girl’s varsity soccer coach Haroot Hakopian said. “With turf, we wouldn’t have to worry about that.”

Although plans for a turf field installation have been put on hold, whether the CHS turf field will be under contract with other sports associations is still in question.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the county, Bethesda Lacrosse and the Booster Club in making the turf field at Churchill a reality in 2015,” Potomac Soccer President Jonathan

Weinberg said.

There is still time for plans to be made for CHS to get a turf field, but as the installation takes time to plan and carry out, CHS would be able to get a turf field no earlier than the 2015-2016 school year.

“MCPS needs approval from the County Council to accept outside funding for a turf field,” Rivinius said. “If that does happen, the earliest construction would be able to begin would be toward the end of this school year, and that is not a guarantee.”

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Recent lawsuit puts CHS turf field plans on hold