Frequently Asked Questions
I want to get field or gym space. Am I eligible?
We schedule leagues, organizations, and groups of individuals in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) gyms and on FCPS and Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) fields. We do not schedule camps, clinics, or other revenue-generating activities. We also do not schedule organizations that operate athletic services as a for-profit activity. These types of uses must be scheduled directly through the field or gym owner (e.g., the Fairfax County Park Authority, Fairfax County Public Schools) and are subject to the owner’s rental policies and fees.
Do I need to have a permit to use fields and gyms?
Permits are required in order to use gyms. Permits are required for field users of 20 or more people (including spectators). If you use a field without a permit, and a permitted group shows up, you must vacate the field. A permit is the only way to guarantee that a field will be available for you to use.
How do I apply for field or gym space?
First, complete and submit an application. You can submit it by fax, mail, or in person (the fax number and address are on the application form). And, beginning in late 2009, you can even submit your request online. You can find the applications on our website.
There are three types of applications:
- Standard application – for recurring use
- One Time Use application – a one-time occurrence
Tournament application – multiple teams, one or several consecutive
By when do I need to submit an application?
Submitting your application on time, by our deadlines, assures that you will have the best chance to get the space and time you want. Applications submitted past the deadline will be scheduled on a space available basis. If you are an athletic organization with multiple teams, applying for space for the first time, please submit your application six months prior to the deadline so that we can begin to identify space for your group.
If I submit my application by the deadline, will I receive the space I requested?
You may not receive the exact space you want, but we will try to accommodate you in a similar time and space. Listing several options, in order of preference, on your application helps us schedule more effectively.
Once I submit my application, when will I receive my permit?
Once you turn in an application, you will receive an automatic email when it is entered it in our system. You will receive a second email when you have been scheduled to finalize and receive your permit. If you submitted your application by the deadline, you should be notified about three weeks prior to the beginning of the season. If you submitted your application after the beginning of the season, it will take about two weeks to process your application.
What do I need to do in order to receive a permit?
To receive a permit, you must submit your roster of participants and pay all applicable application and non-county fees. If you have not fully paid for any past permit, you will not receive your permit. Organizations that run league play will receive a temporary permit that is valid until two weeks after games begin. At that point, the organization must submit rosters, practice and game schedules, and fees in order to receive final permits.
What needs to be included on the roster?
Rosters must include name, address, phone number, and age (if under 19) for each player and indication of whether the player is or is not a Fairfax County resident. Rosters are necessary for three reasons: 1) to verify the application and non-county fees and amount due; 2) to determine the amount of time a group is required to receive per the allocation policy; and 3) to determine whether a group meets the residency requirements defined in the allocation policies. If you have questions or concerns about the privacy of information contained in the rosters, please see our roster privacy information.
How much will it cost?
All applications are subject to an application fee. The application fee is calculated differently based on the type of request:
- Organizations and groups of individuals pay $5.50 per participant, per team, per season. If your organization registers by team instead of by individual (i.e., a team pays the club registration fee as opposed to individual players), there is a calculation factor that determines how many people you would pay for. This “allocation factor” is defined in the Field and Gym Allocation Policies.
- The application fee for tournaments is $15 per team. (Tournaments using fields also are subject to a deposit of $200 for the first facility and $50 for each additional facility. The deposit is refundable after the tournament, provided there is no damage to the fields.)
The application fee for one-time use requests is $50 per
In addition to the application fee, all participants who do not live in Fairfax County (residents of Fairfax City and the Towns of Clifton, Herndon, and Vienna are considered Fairfax County residents) pay a $30 non-county fee. Like the application fee, the non-county fee is assessed per person, per team, per season. Please note that, as of the Fall 2009 season, the non-county fee is applicable to youth and adults.
Non-county fees are not applicable for tournament or one-time use requests.
All gym use on Saturdays and Sundays is subject to custodial fees
charged by FCPS to provide custodians overtime pay to open, monitor, and
close the gyms. The current custodial fee is $32 per hour. You will be
billed at the end of the season, based on your actual use and these
- You will be charged for a minimum of four hours of use per day, excluding opening and closing fees.
- Ninety minutes ($48) per day, in addition to your actual use, will be included to cover opening, closing, and clean-up fees. This fee will be shared among all users scheduled by Athletic Services in the building that day.
Tournaments will incur the following additional costs:
- A second custodian will be assigned to the location for half of the time on each day. (e.g., If you use a gym for 10 hours, you will pay for 15 hours of custodial coverage.)
Additional clean-up costs will be assessed based on the type of
- High schools: 4 hours for the main gym, 2 hours for the auxiliary gym.
- Middle schools: 2 hours for the main gym, 1 hour for the auxiliary gym.
- Groups that are Certified Athletic Organizations will have their custodial fees subsidized in their primary gym scheduling season.
Building Director Fees
To ensure that gyms are being used in accordance with NCS and FCPS rules, a certified building director must be present at all times during gym use. Groups have two options for providing a building director:
NCS will provide a building director for $12.12 per hour, for which you will be billed at the end of the season.
You may provide a volunteer building director (VBD). A VBD must be at least 18 years old and must pass an exam to verify their comprehension of the building use rules. A training video, the exam, and additional information on the VBD program can be found on the VBD web page.
How do I read my permit?
Your permit will include one page per month per facility. Each page of your permit will look similar to the sample below. To ensure quick resolution of any conflicts or other problems, you should carry your permit with you at all times.
- Listing of the name of the group or person and sport the permit is assigned to, the scheduling season, and the request/permit number.
- The name of the school or park the permit is for.
- The specific field or gym the permit is for.
- If a day on the calendar does not have a time listed, the permit is not valid for that day.
- Permits are valid only for the time listed for each day at each facility.
- If there are any restrictions or special information items for a specific facility, they will be noted at the bottom of the permit.
Once you have received your permit, NCS will notify you by e-mail of any changes to your allocation (see sample below). This e-mail is an official notice of a change to your permit. You may print out the change notification and attach it to your permit or contact us for an updated permit.
South Fields [SouthFields@fairfaxcounty.gov]
As the User Group Contact for A Test Group this email is to notify you of the following cancellation from your schedule. A Test Group - Field Hockey which was scheduled at A Test School 60 #01 on 8/20/2008 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM has been cancelled due to School Fun Fair. Please make a note of this cancellation on your permits and notify your participants.
Please contact us for further information.
What should I do if I will not be using some of the time I have been allocated?
You are required to turn back any allocated time that you will not use. To avoid being charged for the space, you must notify NCS in writing (AthleticServices@fairfaxcounty.gov) at least 72 hours prior to the scheduled use or by 8 a.m. Wednesday morning for all weekend use.
What rules are there regarding field and gym usage?
All facility use rules can be found on our website. However, here are a few key rules to keep in mind:
Field Use Rules
- Groups of 20 or more, including spectators, are required to have a permit.
- Use is prohibited during wet or inclement weather.
- Alcohol is prohibited.
- Trash must be placed in designated receptacles.
- Field maintenance is prohibited without prior approval from FCPS or FCPA.
- Portable soccer goals must be properly anchored when in use and properly secured at all times when not in use.
Gym Use Rules
- Food and drink, other than water, is not allowed in gyms.
- Participants and spectators are permitted in the gym only.
- Groups playing outdoor sports in gyms are limited to training only, must use approved balls, and are prohibited from taking shots on goal.
Who are those nice people in the blue shirts?
We have a great staff of area monitors that visit our facilities to assist permit holders, resolve conflicts, and enforce facility use rules. Keep in mind, however, that they cannot be everywhere all the time! If you are having a problem with security, facility rule violations, permit conflicts, or if you are locked out of your assigned gym, call our after-hours emergency number to reach a monitor: (703)324-5515.
Who maintains the fields?
The Fairfax County Park Authority maintains all park fields and manages contractors that provide some maintenance on school fields. Many groups “adopt” fields, performing the maintenance themselves or paying for the maintenance. Adoption programs provide users with a variety of benefits, including scheduling rights and field enhancement opportunities. Please contact our office with questions regarding field maintenance or adoption programs.
Users are generally permitted to line fields, but we strongly encourage you to contact our office prior to lining a field so that your efforts can be coordinated with the property owner and other users.
Users are not permitted to perform any maintenance, including lining, on synthetic turf fields. Please contact our office if you have maintenance-related needs on turf fields.
How do we know when the fields or gyms are closed due to inclement weather?
Fields may be closed due to inclement weather or poor conditions, as use of wet fields can cause severe damage to the field. Gyms will be closed whenever schools close or close early due to weather. It is your responsibility to verify the status of the field prior to use. If you use a closed field, you will be responsible for any damage caused to the field.
For gym closures, call the weather hotline at 703-324-5264. School closure information can also be found on Channel 21 (FCPS Red Apple) or at www.fcps.edu.
Please note that, if you are assigned a high school or secondary school gym, the school’s outdoor sports teams may need to practice indoors in case of inclement weather. If that is the case, your use may be cancelled or shortened with only a few hours notice. We attempt to notify users by 3 p.m. in these situations.
Park Authority field closures will be announced on the weather hotline at 703-324-5264, and on the Park Authority website. The Park Authority closure list is not updated on the weekends. Park Authority fields on the weekends, and school fields at all times, are closed at the discretion of the user. You should never use a field when there is standing water. For more information on determining field playability, please contact our office.
If you are using a high school or secondary school field, please call the school’s athletic hotline for field closure information. The hotline number will be listed on your permit.
Synthetic turf fields will be closed when there is snow or ice on any part of field. Attempting removal of snow or ice may damage the field and is prohibited; it must melt naturally.
How does NCS schedule facilities?
We are guided by detailed policies that dictate in which order we schedule groups and how much space they get. You should take some time to familiarize yourself with the Field Allocation Policy and the Gym Allocation Policy. Here are some of the general guidelines that serve as the foundation of the policies:
- Youth programs have scheduling priority over adult programs.
Organized leagues have scheduling priority over groups of
individuals. The organizations with the highest scheduling priority
are Certified Athletic Organizations (CAO). To qualify as a CAO, you
must submit copies of the following documents:
- Organization bylaws
- Codes of conduct for athletes, spectators, and coaches
- Progressive disciplinary procedures
- Emergency communication plan
- Each sport is assigned a primary season, during which that sport has scheduling priority over other sports. For example, badminton groups (fall primary season) have gym scheduling priority over basketball groups (winter) during the fall.
Groups that do not meet our residency requirements have the lowest
scheduling priority. The residency requirements are:
- Youth organizations: 90% of participants must be Fairfax County residents
- Youth teams applying as individual teams: 75% of participants must be Fairfax County residents
- Adult organizations: 75% of all participants AND 67% of each team must be Fairfax County residents
- Groups receive a certain amount of space per week. This amount is based on the number of participants, their ages, and the sport. For example, a soccer team of 11 year-olds qualifies for 3 hours of practice and 1.5 hours of game space per week (we assume two teams on the field per practice and game).
Groups are allocated space in blocks of time. You are responsible for assigning the space to specific teams within your organization for games and practices.
What kind of use does NCS not schedule?
For-profit athletic organizations and fundraising activities such as camps and clinics must be scheduled by the property owner (FCPS or FCPA) and may be subject to rental or commission fees.
Additionally, use of fields or gyms during hours other than those designated as “community use time” must be scheduled by the property owner. Community use time is defined as follows:
- Monday through Friday, 4:30 p.m. to dark (11 p.m. on lighted fields)
- Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to dark (11 p.m. on lighted fields)
- Some lighted fields may have earlier lights out times. Please contact our office for details and for instructions on operating lights.
- Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 10:15 p.m.
- Gyms are not available during FCPS employee holidays.
If you have any questions, or are interested in obtaining space for an activity not scheduled by NCS, please contact us so that we can connect you to the right person.
What else should I know?
Applications and rosters do not carry over from season to season. You must apply and provide rosters separately for each season.
Permits are non-transferrable. As the permit holder you may not allow a third party to use the facility.
Permit holders are required to return any allocated space or time that will not be used.
You may not request space if you already receive space through another permit. For example, a specific team within an organization must go through its organization for practice space and may not apply separately for additional permits.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions!
Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services
Athletic Services and Community Use Scheduling
12011 Government Center Parkway, Suite 1050
Fairfax, VA 22035-1115
703-324-5533 or 703-324-5522, TTY 711