City approves installation of field lights

Chronicle Staff

After receiving approval from the Department of City Planning last Friday, field lights for Ted Slavin Field could be installed as early as the end of the football season and certainly by mid-year. Lights will be installed on either side of the 20-25 yard line at each end of the field. In total, four lights and 68 lamps will be installed.

“I think this will affect the whole school,” Head of Campus Operations J.D. DeMatte said. “It will have an amazing impact to have people here at night. It will take us to a new level. It’s not just for football, but for other sports and for music.”

The two lights on the east side of the field will stand up to 80 feet tall while the two on the west will be up to 60 feet. DeMatte said that he hoped the lights would be ready for the last football game, but a more realistic time would be midway through the school year.

David Thompson, the project manager for the school’s law firm Latham and Watkins, filed the initial application on March 30. The initial plans did not address potential environmental problems such as light spillage, disruption of seismic faults and excessive noise. However, with any large scale plan there are generally such issues, and in this case, they were resolved fairly quickly.

The school submitted new information providing sufficient evidence that any significant problems would be mitigated. Last Wednesday, a Mitigated Negative Declaration was officially finished. The Declaration cleared the plan of all environmental complications.
Many of the trees on the outskirts of the campus should provide shielding to block spillage of light onto the homes of neighbors. Moreover, the Musco lights that the school will buy are known for limiting spillage, according to the application.

The matter was also brought before the Studio City Neighborhood Council, and the Council voted unanimously to approve it July 19.

According to the Planning Department, the school is allowed to use the lights between 4:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They have also received special privileges to use the lights until 11 p.m. on seven Friday nights and one Saturday night during football season.

Members of the school administration had expected significant community resistance; however, they were pleasantly surprised as there appeared to be as many residents in favor of the lights as against.

“The constituents have been unbelievable,” DeMatte said. “A bunch of people came to the neighborhood council meeting in favor of the lights. I was shocked after what we went through with the middle school where we were in battle for 10 years.”

However, some constituents remain firmly against the lights.

“I’m against the lights,” a 12-year resident said. “There will be more noise late at night and it will probably be too loud for my kids to fall asleep when the games go late.”

The approval has a 15-day period before going into effect and during this period, anyone can file an appeal to the ruling.