ACPS: Lights feasible at T.C.

ACPS: Lights feasible at T.C.

By Erich Wagner (File photo)

Lighting up T.C. Williams’ football field is doable, Alexandria City Public Schools officals announced last week.

At a September 4 school board meeting, district director of educational facilities William Holley said installing lights at Parker-Gray Stadium is “technically feasible,” despite a report indicating that some light would spill onto neighboring properties to the south of the high school without mitigation.

Holley said the proposal calls for 80-foot high lights on the home fans’ side of the stadium and 90-foot lights on the visitors’ side, at a cost of between $684,000 and $774,000.

Officials said higher poles actually cause less spillage of light into the surrounding neighborhood, because the lights shine more directly onto the field and minimize reflection of light off of the field.

But residents in the neighborhood around T.C. were not satisfied with the report. While echoing previous arguments that such lights would break the promises made by the city when T.C. was first built and then rebuilt in the mid 2000s, they also called the report incomplete because it did not account for any additional lighting that would need to be constructed at stadium gates, concession stands and the like.

“You’re going to need accessory lighting for concessions, for ingress, for egress,” said resident Bill Goff. “You’ll have to make it light up like FedEx Field, because it has to be, because the players deserve nothing less … that cost estimate is just a drop in the bucket.”

School board members will hear more about the cost of maintenance for the proposal at its September 18 meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at George Washington Middle School.