As some sports return to in-person practices, the installation of permanent field lights began earlier this month and planning of a new athletic field is underway. Both projects will be game changers for many sports once students return to campus.
The long awaited field lights will allow sports to practice and have games later, especially as winter sports struggle to have time to play in daylight. According to Associate Superintendent Mike Mathiesen, the lights are anticipated to be completed by early November this year after many months of planning and getting the lights approved.
“It’s a culmination of multiple years of efforts with the school, district, board booster groups, community members, and neighbors,” Mathiesen said.
As the district sought out the approval of the lights, main opposition was raised by neighbors concerned with the noise and light coming from having games at night. Once installed, the district has come to the agreement with neighbors that each sport can only have five home games using lights per season in order to limit how often they are used.
Video courtesy of Carly Heltzel.
The plan for a new synthetic turf field is part of the major Measure E funded building plan for the rest of the school construction. The field, which will be located in the current grass area in front of the baseball field, will allow for multiple athletics events to be held at once.
As the new field will be entirely synthetic turf, it also makes more games possible as weather gets more wet and teams are unable to use the natural grass field.
Currently, the field is expected to start construction in June of 2021 and anticipated to be completed by November of that year in time for the winter athletic season. According to Mathiesen, this timeline was decided after fall sports were forced to move to spring with the closure of school and three seasons were narrowed into two, already putting pressure on the number of fields available.
“If something changes, and I would not want this for the sake of students, but [if something changes]in which it was clear that we weren’t going to have sports in the spring then, we might be able to move that timeline up and get started earlier to impact less of the fall season,” Mathiesen said.