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Athletic Department Exploring Proposal to Light Butler Field

LEDLightinNow that the resurfacing of Butler Field and the track is underway, a longtime request to light the field is back on the table. At the Board of Education meeting on Monday, January 14, Athletic Director Ray Pappalardi reported that the resurfacing of Butler Field, D Zones, and the steeplechase, pole vaulting and long jump areas is complete. The track will be re-milled in April and resurfaced and painted in June.

He raised the issue of installing LED lights on the field and said that Maroon and White had already agreed to donate $200,000 to the project and spearhead the fundraising. The total for the lighting is estimated to cost $810,000. Four meetings have been held to examine the proposal. Maroon and White, the Scarsdale Schools Educational Foundation, the administration, the Board of Education, the village and local independent sports organizations all expressed renewed interest in installing permanent LED lighting. He called the lighting a “program enhancement.”

Pappalardi said that these lights are energy efficient and direct light onto the field with very little spillover beyond the field.

For evening games, the school currently uses diesel-powered lights that cause light, noise and air pollution, and the athletic community believes that LED lights would be superior. The cost of the temporary lighting is about $20,000 a year.

He added, “For me, lights were not a priority – but in my first season, other schools refused to come here because they had to leave school early to play during daylight. I was told, 'You guys should get lights.' The assumption is that schools have lights so kids don’t have to get out of school early.”

Pappalardi said that the project would require SEQRA review – or an environmental impact statement – and requested that the school district act as the lead agency.

Ass’t Superintendent Stuart Mattey said that it would cost about $2,500 a month for the lights or $15,000 per year for operation of the lights. He also thought it would be good to budget $20,000 to $25,000 for administrative costs the year that the lights were installed.

Discussing the proposal, Board Member Lee Maude asked, “What about kids practicing at night? How can we assure ourselves that having these lights won’t extend the day for these kids?”

Pappalardi said, “We would have to agree on when the lights would go off – and what will be scheduled.”

Dr. Hagerman added, “I would think participation would reduce stress.”

Chris Morin said, “We already deal with this for swimming, hockey, play practice – where there are no limits.”

Pam Fuerher asked about donor recognition and plaques. Pappalardi said that they would look into this and come up with a proposal, but for now, it seems that the best way would be to have donor recognition plaques on each pole.

At the conclusion of the discussion, Pappalardi asked the district for approval to reach out to the neighbors, neighborhood associations and community groups for more feedback and to visit neighboring districts that have similar lights. Hearing no objections, he was given the go-ahead to move forward.

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