Community Use Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Community Use Questions

Photo of a magnifying glass on text that reads frequently asked questions
How do I reserve a school for an event?
Most renters will first register an online account with PWCS and then submit a request directly to the school of choice. All documentation necessary for the activity to take place must be submitted to Risk Management and Security before the rental taking place. An overview of the steps are outlined on the Summary of the Process webpage.
I want to conduct a sporting event. How do I reserve a school?

If interested in reserving the high school facilities for recreational/athletic activities, a renter may follow the reservation process outlined on the Summary of the Process page.

If the location sought is an elementary or middle school, the Cooperative Agreement between PWC and PWCS designates the PWC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) as the scheduling authority for these school levels. Please contact the DPR's Sport Services Office at 703-792-7060 or email [email protected] to reserve an elementary or middle school location. Additional information may be found on the Parks and Recs Athletic Groups page.

Please take note that PWCS grass fields close on December 1 and reopen for use on April 1.

What types of events are permitted to take place in the school facilities?
For a list of the most common activities, which take place in PWCS facilities, please visit our Common Types of Rentals page. Approved community activities may include, but are not limited to: art, dance, music, and theater events, banquets/dinners, educational instruction, general meetings, professional trainings, conferences, religious and cultural gatherings, sport/athletic practices, music concerts, dramas, art festivals, book fairs, dance tournaments, and non-political town halls. Activities which do not fall into the noted categories, which appear to be of questionable nature, or games of chance shall be referred to Risk Management and Security Services for review.
I submitted my reservation # days ago and I haven't heard anything. How long does it take to receive an approval?
Schools are granted 5 to 10 school business days to approve a reservation taking place within 30-60 days. For requests scheduled to begin within 61 days or more, schools are provided additional time. This will ensure they are able to obtain the appropriate personnel for the event and that no school activities will take place on the requested date(s) of use.
I need a place to hold an event ASAP! How soon should I submit my request for use?
Typically, reservations should be submitted a minimum of 30 business days in advance for large or commercial events and 15 business days in advance for simple activities, such as small- to medium-sized meetings. For larger activities, which may utilize multiple areas within the school and/or grounds (e.g., dance competitions), it is recommended these be submitted a year in advance.
I will need space for a group that meets weekly/monthly at the same time and in the same area. Is this a possibility?
In most cases, yes. However, this will depend upon after-school activities. For weekend events, this will depend upon the availability of staff. PWCS has in place a public community calendar of events, which can aid in planning recurring activities.
What fees will I be charged?

Fees are based upon a fee schedule and are divided into nonprofit and commercial rates. The most recent rates are available for review on the Schedule of Fees page. Depending upon the organization, area requested, and any use of equipment, you may be assessed a:

  • Personnel Fee: Activity which causes staff to work beyond their normal hours, on weekends, and on holidays will incur personnel charges.
  • Rental Fee: Charged for actual use of the space.
  • Special Fee: Assessed for use of school equipment, such as microphones, stage lights, speakers, and equipment other than tables and chairs.

Invoices are generated by the school and must be paid in advance with a check made out to the name of the location of use. For a detailed description of all fee types, please access our Fees Assessed to Renters page.

My event has been approved, but I need to cancel or change the room/date/time. How do I complete this?
Once the activity has been approved by the school, a renter may no longer modify the request. Please contact the location, at which your activity will be held, and request that they make the changes for you. For extensive changes, the location may cancel the current reservation and ask that a new request be entered for accuracy. If the primary community use contact for a location is needed, please call Risk Management and Security at 703-791-7435 or [email protected] directly.
I submitted a reservation and the date/time appeared available. However, the school declined my request! Why would this happen?

The following are the most common reasons for a denial of use:

  • Lack of staff to work an event;
  • Improper procedure followed for submitting a request (i.e., some organizations, such as those affiliated with the PWC Arts Council or athletic teams and leagues scheduled through the PWC Department of Parks and Recreation may not use the online system to submit requests for use);
  • The type of request is on our list of prohibited activities;
  • The date requested falls on a holiday or day when schools are closed;
  • The date falls outside of the current fiscal year, which runs from July 1 - June 30; and/or
  • Times requested are during normal school hours or would interfere with after-school events.

Schools may also decline community use when it will create conflicts with the availability of parking. Examples of activities that may render a school unavailable for community use may include, but are not limited to: Back to School Nights, student orientations, choral and orchestra events, and school athletic games.

My event was approved, but then it was later canceled. Why did this happen?
When schools are closed due to inclement weather, community use is automatically canceled as well. School activities may need to be rescheduled on a day when community use is already scheduled. In this case, your activity will be canceled.
I don't have general liability insurance, but it states that I must have such coverage to use the schools for an event. Where can I obtain insurance?
Insurance for community use activities (also called event insurance) may be purchased through any insurer of choice as long as it meets the stipulations outlined on our Required Documents To Submit page. If unsure where to purchase coverage, PWCS has enrolled in a program which allows renters to purchase through the Intact Entertainment Insurance Program (formerly known as TULIP). This is usually a more cost-effective option because it permits renters to buy insurance just for their event(s) which will take place on PWCS property, as opposed to purchasing a full policy. If interested in this offering, please access the Intact Insurance webpage and start an insurance quote. The Event Venue ID Code for PWCS is 4750. Please be aware that coverage cannot be purchased for certain types of events, such as political activities.
What if I have recently filed for nonprofit status, but do not have official recognition from the IRS yet? Can I still rent at the nonprofit rates?
If you represent an organization, which has only recently filed for nonprofit status, but has not been granted official status by the IRS, please contact Risk Management and Security at 703-791-7435. All organizations which fall into this category, must have at least obtained correspondence from the IRS advising that their status is under review and they have been directed to file as a nonprofit.
I have a question about community use that doesn't seem to be answered on the website. How can I find the information I need?
For general questions about community use, please contact Risk Management and Security at 703-791-7435 or [email protected] directly with your inquiry.