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Field Lights in Focus At Lincoln-Sudbury School Committee Meeting

Proponents say it's time to upgrade lighting at the high school football field.

Members of the Committee examined the need for new lights on the football field at its Tuesday night meeting. The current lights were installed in 1991 and often fail to meet the needs of groups that use the field, proponents of the project said.

"Clearly, we are in desperate need, I would say, of new lights. Last year, we just limped along," L-S Athletic Director Nancy O'Neil told the Committee. 

She described two cases last year when banks of lights went out during two home football games. She said once lights go out, it takes some time to get them back up again, which can inconvenience players and audience members.

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"New lights will increase use of the field for the town, and increase general rental use," said O'Neill, who added better lighting on the field could increase interest from private groups that would pay rental fees to use a lighted field for their events.

"Right now, it's the only legitimate football field in town," she said, mentioning that other sports, such as soccer or rugby, are not currently played there so the school can save on lights. She said new lights with improved technology would have lower annual operating costs.

Principal/Superintendent Scott Carpenter clarified that school operating funds would not be used to install lights. Funding for the estimated $178,351 project would come from user groups.

"I think we need to have a community-wide discussion about fields," said Carpenter.

School Committee members agreed that since lights would stay in place for up to 30 years, it is worth investing in the proper technology. The issue will be addressed again at a future meeting.

The Committee also heard an update on a seminar regarding language-based learning disabilities that was attended by 68 teachers from Lincoln-Sudbury and three teachers from including Rebecca Reitz, coordinator of special education.

"The feedback I've gotten has been very positive," Reitz said, mentioning a high interest level among participants in accommodating the needs of students with language-base learning disabilities.

"This is a group of students we know Lincoln-Sudbury can be very successful with," said Carpenter.

Tuesday night's meeting was the first since the 2012-2013 school year began.  A recent evening meeting for parents of incoming freshmen was a success, according to Carpenter, who said it gave parents who are new to L-S a chance to get to know school officials and get their questions answered.

"Often, I think parents are more nervous than the students," said one board members about the Class of 2016.

Voice of Reason September 12, 2012 at 06:36 PM
JTB- If you took the time to actually read the article before spewing your anti-LS venom, you would have realized that Scott Carpenter agrees with you. He states that no LS funds would be used for new lights, that all funding must come from private sources. This is similar to how the current turf football field and track was built after it was not included in the new school budget. Also, this does not appear to be a "PROPER MAINTENANCE" issue. The existing lights date back to 1991 and appear to have outlived their usefullness. Read the Crier for a much more detailed report of last nights discussion.
JJoseph September 12, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Voice of Reason, Actually, what was said was: "Scott Carpenter clarified that school operating funds would not be used to install lights. Funding for the estimated $178,351 project would come from user groups." In other words user groups are "teams" and other "users" of the field at LS and not "private sources" as you mention. The notion that private organizations or citizens will rent the field is silly. On another note wasn't there a recent complaint from LS that they did not have $9,000 for some hardware so there would be no internet in the school? Seems to me priorities need to be straightened out.
Voice of Reason September 12, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I won't try to speak for Scott Carpenter and I wasn't at the school committee last night, but I'd make a strong guess that his reference to "users groups" mirror the fundraising that went on for the Field Project when it was built. At that time Sudbury Pop Warner, Sudbury Boys/Girls Lacrosse and Sudbury Youth Soccer all made substantial donations to launch the effort. These were the "User Groups" that helped make the turf field/track a reality. I agree with you that there is probably limited rental opportunities for that particular field, but who knows? Maybe with adequate lighting it could be rented for club soccer, rugby, summer/fall lacrosse leagues and spring/summer field hockey.
SkimThreePercent September 12, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Any input on this matter from the new Facilities Director? Nope. Any input from the Permanent Building Committee? Nope. Any input from anyone who knows anything about electrical systems? Nope. Any goals set for Carpenter yet having to do his education as requested by Patty Mostue for two years now? Nope. What a well run operation! When did O'Neil become an expert on lighting systems? Never.
Voice of Reason September 12, 2012 at 09:59 PM
CPA funds comprised the majority of the money used to build the turf field and track. A significant amount of money, I believe in excess of $100,000, was donated from the youth sports groups that I referenced earlier. The Press Box was a secondary private fundraising effort and once again included no LS funding. The original plan was to raise enough money to replace the lights and build the press box, but that fund raising effort fell short. There was no fundraising done for the new bleachers, they were part of the new building fund because the older wood bleachers were unsafe/not-ADA compliant. I'm not drinking any punch, just trying to stay informed.

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