BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – A coalition of Bronxville parents have come together to support the Board of Education’s decision to undertake a feasibility study regarding the viability of lighting at Chambers Field.
The study will assess proposed lighting in terms of state requirements that govern environmental impact. No decision has yet been made regarding the lights, and the public has had opportunities to provide input throughout the process.
Chambers Field is one of the only places available in the village for sport practice and game space, despite the fact that the number of students participating in school sports has swelled in recent years.
Last year, 415 middle and high school students played organized school sports, an increase of 35 percent from 10 years ago.
Molly Hendrick, who is a part of the group of Bronxville residents rallying in support of the lights, said that she and the group have crafted a position statement regarding the study.
“There has been a group that wanted to pursue lights in 2005 when the turf field was installed,” she said. “As our kids have grown and started playing for the school teams, we see the limited field space our school has, and we think it is necessary to consider lights again. “
Adding lights to the field could serve as a boon for students and parents alike. It would increase the viability of the field, allowing more teams to practice longer, under the lights. Presently, games need to start no later than 4:15 p.m., to avoid the cover of darkness, a problem that could be avoided if lights were to be installed, allowing working parents to make it to games more easily.
Lights would also provide Bronxville Athletic Director Karen Peterson greater scheduling flexibility.
When varsity teams have successful seasons and earn home field advantage in the playoffs, student-athletes are forced to miss time in class to fit games in during daylight hours. Lights would also permit games and practices to be moved around standardized testing that takes place on Saturday mornings.
Despite all of the inherent benefits of adding lights to Chambers Field, not all residents are sold on the idea. Concerns that have been raised include construction sounds, light spilling onto nearby properties and an obtrusive view of the structures.
Hendrick agreed that cooperation between those for and against the lights would be essential moving forward with the project.
“We hope to spread the word and show support for the board’s decision to pursue the feasibility study,” she said. “We would want to work with the neighbors who live near the field to come to a reasonable agreement regarding the usage of the lights. Guidelines would be necessary and we welcome a discussion about that.”
The feasibility study is just one of several projects that will revamp Chambers Field this summer. The second phase of the Chambers Field Project includes the construction of a new concession stand and installation of new bleachers and press box.
All of the work being done has been supported through private donations and grants from the Bronxville School Foundation.
“Our main purpose here is offering Bronxville school students the best experience they can receive,” Hendrick added. “This includes better facilities for those who play field sports, but we would also like to see more opportunities to bring the school community together.”
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