Illuminating idea meets dark end

Illuminating idea meets dark end

School board Vice Chair Sheryl Gorsuch raised eyebrows when she floated the idea of permanent athletic field lights at T.C. Williams during Thursdays capital improvement plan meeting. 

I believe that it’s a priority need over the lights at George Washington and Francis Hammond and the students would greatly benefit from their scheduling of activities, Gorsuch said. I realize that there would be a need for a [permitting] process and even putting it in the budget is no guarantee, but I believe its the first step toward a more open discussion.

Under Gorsuchs plan, the roughly $200,000 project would begin in 2016. Despite T.C.s first night football game since 1969 being held in October as a test, board members were lukewarm to the concept. 

While he supports building lights at T.C., board member Charles Wilson urged caution. Given the reluctance of the field’s neighbors and the citys tight purse strings, moving ahead with the project guaranteed financial and political controversy, he said. 

Fellow board member Arthur Peabody said adding it to the wish list now would risk making the board appear hasty. The timing is awkward, he said. 

I attended the night game and had a wonderful time, Peabody said. Before we engage in an issue that is potentially so controversial with one or more aspects of the community, we need to review our pledge to involve people I regret to say it, but if we approve this now, it will look like it’s been approved at the last minute without any discussion whatsoever.

Gorsuch withdrew the proposal shortly thereafter, telling her colleagues her goal all along was to spark discussion. With appropriate time for studying and planning, the project could be added to the CIP as soon as next year, she said.