Frequently Asked Community Use Questions w/Answers

Question: How do I make a reservation with a school?

Answer: Any individual, group, or organization (i.e. a “user”) wishing to reserve space within Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) for an event must first register as an Organization Event Coordinator (OEC) at the "CommunityUse" website. Users will first register a personal account and once said account is approved, a request for use of the space must be submitted online to the school of choice. Detailed instructions may be accessed by clicking on the Reserve A School Location link on the left.

Question: What types of activities are allowed?

Answer: Approved community activities may include, but are not limited to: afternoon, evening, and Saturday classes, dinners, concerts, dramas, book festivals, art festivals, dances, parties, and organizational meetings. Activities which do not fall into the above categories and appear to be of questionable nature or games of chance shall be referred to the Office of Risk  Management and Security Services for approval.

Question: I see various types of events are permitted, but what about recreational and athletic activities?

Answer: If a user is interested in reserving the high school facilities for recreational/athletic activities, they may follow the online account creation and reservation process outlined above. Otherwise, if the location sought is an elementary or middle school, the Cooperative Agreement between PWC and PWCS grants the Department of Parks and Recreation as the scheduling authority for these school levels. Please contact the Sport Services Office at 703.792.7060 to reserve an elementary or middle school location.

Question: Once a request is submitted, how long does it take to be approved?

Answer: Schools are granted 5 - 10 school business days to approve a reservation taking place withing 30 - 60 days. For requests taking place beyond 60 days, schools are provided additional time. This will ensure they are able to obtain the appropriate personnel for the event. Reservations should be submitted a minimum of 30 business days in advance for large or commercial events and fifteen 15 business days in advance for simple activities, such as small meetings. For even larger activities, which may utilize the majority of the school and/or grounds (e.g. dance competitions), it is recommended they be submitted a year in advance.

Question: I have a group that meets weekly and we’ll need the same space each month. Is this possible?

Answer: In most cases, the answer is yes; however, this will depend upon whether or not school activities may be taking place during the times of your request. PWCS has in place a public community calendar of events, which can aid in planning recurring activities.

Question: How do I know how much I will be charged for use of the building?

Answer: A fee schedule, which lists the most current rates and their effective date, is available on the web. Depending upon the organization, area requested and any use of equipment, you may be charged a rental, personnel and/or special fees. Invoices are generated by the school and must be paid in advance to the location you wish to use. Any activity which causes personnel to work outside of their normal work hours, on weekends and on holidays will incur a personnel charge. Special fees are assessed for use of school equipment, such as microphones, stage lights, speakers and kitchen equipment.

Question: My event was approved, but now I need to make a change to the room/date/time. How do I do this?

Answer: Once the activity has been approved, an OEC may no longer modify the request. Please contact the school, at which your activity will be held, and request that they make the changes for you. If the community use contact for a location is needed, please get in touch with the Office of Risk Management and Security Services at 703.791.7435. 

Question: I submitted a request and checked the availability. The space did not appear to be in use but the school declined my request. Why would this happen?

Answer: Lack of staff to work an event, submitting a request on a holiday, and/or requesting use at times when school is in session are all reasons a request will be declined. In addition, when sites host large school activities, it may create conflicts with adequate parking if additional events are permitted to take place. Examples of these types 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. Another reason for a declined request may be that the activity is scheduled too far in advance. Many schools only allow events to be scheduled for the current fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30. As schools may not know their calendar that far in advance, booking an activity set to take place after June 30 may result in an automatic decline.

Question: What might cause my event to be cancelled even though it was already approved?

Answer: When schools are closed due to inclement weather, community use is automatically cancelled as well. School activities may need to be rescheduled on a day where community use is already scheduled. In this case, your activity will be cancelled.

Question: I have a question about community use that doesn’t seem to be answered here. Who do I contact?

Answer: If you have any general questions regarding community use, feel free to contact the Office of Risk Management & Security Services at 703.791.7435.