City council voted to approve the addition of lights at T.C. Williams’ Parker-Gray Stadium, as well as upgrades to the stadium itself and a text amendment that increases the allowed height of lights at athletic facilities from 60 to 80 feet.
Council voted 6-1 to approve the changes during a public hearing that lasted well into the night, with Mayor Allison Silberberg dissenting, and also approved conditions added in response to concerns from the neighborhood, including the installation of a fence, the limitation of event hours and the creation of a forum for discussion and conflict resolution between the neighbors and Alexandria City Public Schools.
Approval of upgrades to the Parker-Gray Stadium follows a lengthy and often emotional battle between neighbors, the city and ACPS. The battle has also turned litigious, with several residents of the Woods neighborhood filing a lawsuit in August.
ACPS has long sought updates to the aging Parker-Gray Stadium, and has faced complications with scheduling games because of the lack of lights on the field.
Other stadium upgrades approved by council as part of the stadium update include the addition of an eighth track lane, the replacement of the field’s artificial turf, the addition of restrooms, a new concession stand, a ticket booth, the replacement and relocation of the scoreboard, safety lighting, a new press box and an upgraded sound system, according to an ACPS news release.
“The Parker-Gray Memorial Stadium will now be able to move into the 21st century and our students will get the facility they deserve. These upgrades will create a stadium that is aligned with our vision of creating world-class experiences and opportunities for our students,” T.C. Williams Principal Peter Balas said in a statement.
Stadium upgrades are expected to begin in spring of 2019 and take seven months to complete.