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Lights put on field as part of district wide project

Five Seattle Public Schools receive updates to outdoor recreational areas

Kylie Williams, Online Editor
Originally published March 11, 2019

Skye McDonaldBoys soccer holds tryouts on the field surrounded by four new lights. Teams will have more practices and home games later into the evening.

Skye McDonald

Boys soccer holds tryouts on the field surrounded by four new lights. Teams will have more practices and home games later into the evening.

s part of a district wide project, lights have been installed around the field and track and are receiving finishing touches to be ready for the spring sports season. Cleveland High School, Franklin High School and Roosevelt High School are also undergoing lighting updates to their fields along with Robert Eagle Staff Middle School. The total cost for the five contracts is $3,882,668, with BHS’ lighting costing $725,000.

BHS’ light installation began the second week of January and is just waiting for electrical connection to be functioning. Principal Keven Wynkoop eagerly anticipates the positive effects the lights will have on spring athletes.

“Being able to have lights here and extend our practice hours just means more teams are able to practice here without having to go to other facilities,” Wynkoop said.

In the past, teams have either had to battle for field space and time, or travel to other available fields to get practices in, a major inconvenience to athletes.

“If you think about when it gets dark in the fall and the spring, when we primarily use the field, it greatly reduces the amount of practice that we can have for our athletes,” Wynkoop said. “With the large participation numbers and the huge number of athletic programs we have, we have had to use many different fields around the area. That creates huge obstacles in getting athletes to those other fields, especially for ninth graders, tenth graders who don’t drive, who don’t necessarily have friends who drive, it creates real hardship for them.”

Senior girls lacrosse captain Rachel Howell looks forward to having lights on the field to avoid inconveniences of having to share the field with so little daylight.

“We can’t have tryouts there, for the first two weeks of practice we have to find other fields because boys soccer gets the field before us,” Howell said. “We have to have tryouts and practices at SPU and sometimes Loyal Heights, so it’s all over the place and it makes our schedule really difficult.”

With lights on the field, more teams will be able to practice for longer without having to travel to neighborhood facilities.

“We will have time to get fitness in and technical work in,” Howell said. “Normally we don’t get to do that because it gets so late and so we can only work on drills and formations, but having lights will allow us to do the things we need to do.”

Additionally, lights will allow for multiple games to played after school without worrying about losing light.

“What’s also cool is that we’ll get to have more home games now,” Howell said. “Usually we have very few home games in our schedule and when we do they’re really early and we have to work with boys soccer when we’re allowed to play, but now, we can have games at like 6:30 or 7 and we won’t have to rush boys soccer off the field which is nice.”

Though athletes are eager for the lights, neighbors of the school may have concerns about the commotion they could cause.

“The only downside will be for some of the neighbors who may not like the light in the neighborhood into the evening,” Wynkoop said. “They might also be concerned about additional traffic in the evening that happens, but anything that happens on the field will be a fraction of what goes on when there’s a basketball game or an open house or a music concert or something like that that goes on in the school.”

Branching off of the construction, updates will also be made to the scoreboard on the field.

“We’ve had a scoreboard out on the field that our foundation and athletic booster club paid to put in many years ago,” Wynkoop said. “There was never electrical run out there so we have to bring out a portable battery every time, so we’re trying to get a connection made so it can tie into the electrical that runs the lights, so we’d be able to use it more regularly and not have to go through that much trouble to provide electricity.”

Finishing touches are being put on the lights and should be functioning in the coming weeks.

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Lights put on field as part of district wide project