BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – The Bronxville Board of Education continues to explore the need for additional field space and the feasibility of erecting stadium lighting at Chambers Field after hearing from homeowners, parents and students.
The board heard presentations from Bronxville Athletic Director Karen Peterson and the district’s architecture firm KG & D before discussing the proposed options with nearly 200 members of the community.
David Brashear, the president of the board, said that no decisions are imminent, and that he and his colleagues will explore every possibly option before committing to anything permanent.
“We have been investigating different alternatives for generating field hours, and we will continue to explore as many options as we can identify,” he said. “When we feel we have reviewed the benefits, impacts and hard costs of each, we will move toward solutions. The board will not rush to any conclusions.”
According to Peterson, 415 student-athletes participate on 19 district sports teams, most of which require time on the field. This level of participation represents a 54.3 percent increase from a decade ago. She said that this has led to cramped field space that constrains practice times and game schedules.
Without lights, contests must begin no later than 4:15 p.m. so they can finish before nightfall. This makes it more difficult to schedule games and for working parents to attend.
During her presentation, Peterson identified three possible solutions: “continuing to look for off campus facilities to be utilized for practices and games; a turf field expansion at Hayes Field or the installation of lights on Chambers Field.”
Off campus options include Tibbetts Brook Park and Fleming Field in Yonkers, Haindl Field in Eastchester or Concordia College, although each of those has caveats and would be on a limited-use basis.
Russ Davidson, the president of KG & D, conducted a feasibility study regarding the possibility of erecting five light poles on the inside of the Chambers Field track. This plan includes three 70-foot poles on one side and two 80-foot poles on the other.
Davidson said that the extra tall poles would ensure proper angels, decreasing glare for players and decreasing off-site spillage. If approved, the lights would cost approximately $500,000 and would take 60 weeks to construct.
Resident Chuck Reynolds is one of many who are adamantly against the erection of lights at Chambers Field. Those who oppose the lights cite the village’s character, light pollution from the spillover and possible damages to the environment.
“We’re a small village, and we’re talking about a massive change here for just a few hundred kids,” he said. “I’m shocked that they’re still even talking about this.”
Brashear said that the board and district will follow up on residents’ concerns, and again stressed that they would act in the best interest of the village.
“This will be a deliberate process. We won’t take any options off the table until we have a complete understanding of all the options,” he said. “This board has demonstrated a habit of being deliberate, and looking out for the best interests of the school and village. That spirit will continue to guide our deliberations.”