BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – The Bronxville Board of Education continues to explore ways to relieve the athletic field shortage that has plagued the village in recent years.
The district studied the viability of installing lights at Chambers Field, a proposal that left Bronxville residents divided. Now they are exploring alternative options at neighboring fields to increase field hours.
Options include a possible reconfiguration of Hayes Field, utilizing Scout Field differently, increasing access to Haindl Field or reaching an agreement with another neighboring town to use their field space.
“I believe our special workshop related to the possibility of lighting Chambers Field was a highly productive one,” David Brashear, the board president, said. “The community input at that meeting was both respectful and informative.”
One option is to reconfigure Hayes Field as part of the flood mitigation process. The district is conducting another feasibility study with an architect. The plan would allow more flexibility in scheduling. An early estimate puts the expansion at approximately $1 million.
Scheduling has become a problem for Athletic Director Karen Peterson. Without lights, contests must begin at 4:15 p.m. so they can be completed before nightfall. When varsity teams 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.
As part of the agreement the Town of Eastchester made to manage Scout Field , plans have been put in place to install another field, which could accommodate modified soccer and lacrosse games.
Haindl Field in Eastchester is currently used for two afternoon contests each season, though the district may gain access to the field from 7:30 to 9 p.m. weekdays, opening up practice time for varsity teams. One caveat the board warned of was that with the closure of Eastchester’s turf field , this option may be limited over the next year. It will also cost the district $350 per practice session for transportation.
The final option would be to install permanent lighting at Chambers Field. Those opposed to the lights said there may be environmental and health risks and be an eyesore.
“I don’t care what they do, as long as they don’t put lights up,” Bill Gray, 58, said. “This is a small village, we don’t need professional lighting for school sports. The spillover lighting along will pollute our neighborhood.”
Brashear noted that they will continue to evaluate their options until they determine which is the best course of action.
"We are working to identify every possible playing site, and the tradeoffs associated with each," he said. "We are taking a deliberate approach and will require some time.”
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