School Committee approves high schoolâs temporary lights
Westborough – At its June 16 meeting, the Westborough School Committee unanimously approved a request by the Westborough High School (WHS) administration to pursue a special permit for installation of temporary lights on the football field. The vote was 4-0 in favor of the move, with School Committee member Steve Doret absent from the vote.
Assistant Principal Brian Callaghan made the request to the committee. He explained that the planned lights would be in use from Oct. 25 through Nov. 2. The school is hoping to schedule four night games that week, which will include the varsity teams from girls soccer, boys soccer, girls lacrosse and the football team. Callaghan said the lights would likely be turned on from 7 to 10 p.m.
Sixteen portable light units, each 30 feet high, will be installed and removed at a cost of $250 apiece, Callaghan explained. He said the total cost of $5,500 could be off set by ticket sales and donations.
School Committee member Karen Henderson said it is important to note that the money will not come from the school budget.
“I want to make sure there isn’t a cost to the district – that it’s self-funded,” she told Callaghan.
Callaghan also stressed that there is no plan to pursue permanent lights for the WHS field. “This is in no way, shape or form a step in the permanent lights direction,” he emphasized. He said the administration is planning to meet with abutters to address concerns and to “make adjustments to satisfy them.”
School Committee member Craig Harris said that this plan could move forward without any input from abutters because it fits within the town bylaws. But Assistant Superintendent Maryanne O’Connor added that she and Superintendent Dr. Anne Towle would like input from area residents.
“We want to assure people that the town in not seeking to install permanent lights,” she said.
“I want to make sure we do this correctly so that we will have an opportunity to possibly do this again,” Henderson added.
Callaghan explained that a special permit will need to be in place by early to mid-July so that there is enough time for the various teams to schedule games during the proposed fall week. He is hoping to have a meeting with abutters the week of July 5 and a decision about the lights in place shortly thereafter.
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