Aug. 14, 2013: According to Molly Hendrick and other members of the Committee to Support Bronxville Student Athletes, space for student athletic programs is in short supply at The Bronxville School due to new sports programs and more team levels. Permanent, but controlled, lighting is needed on Chambers Field to provide additional, badly needed space to run student sports programs.
By way of background, when faced with increased enrollment, The Bronxville School added a new wing to the building. In response to the desire of more students within that higher enrollment to participate in sports, the athletic department added a wider range of sports and more levels of teams available to include most students who want to play. The only factor that has remained constant through that growth is the availability of field space for the teams to practice and play their games, and that has been shrinking.
With more teams needing time on the field, Hendrick noted that some teams have to double and triple up on the fields for practice. "Unfortunately, Hayes Field in Eastchester and the Scout Field are often unavailable because they're so unpredictable," Hendrick said. "If they get wet, the teams can't use them."
The Committee to Support Bronxville Student Athletes sees permanent lighting on Chambers Field as a means to provide more space, by gaining more time, to create reliable practice and game schedules for the student athletes. Members of the committee have spoken with many village residents and researched lighting situations in other towns. They suggest that guidelines designed to maintain quality of life be included in any plan to install permanent lighting on Chambers Field.
Key guidelines surrounding the lighting issue include:
• Lighted fields are to be used only by Bronxville School teams and not rented to outside groups
• The lights will be turned on only as needed for weekday games and practices as daylight decreases in the fall and will be turned off as daylight increases in the spring
• Lights will be turned off before typical bedtime hours
• Sufficient advance announcement will precede any weekend night games when the lights will be on somewhat later than on weeknights
Hendrick acknowledged that Bronxville residents have expressed concerns about security on the field should its hours of use be extended by permanent lighting. She stated that the committee has called for increased security at night games as well as a security presence to enforce the rules related to who is authorized to use the field at any time, with or without lights. "I'm hearing over and over the impression that, if we get these lights, they're going to be on every night at the request of whoever wants them," Hendrick said. "I don't think that would ever happen. We don't want to see that on the field."
She noted that the Bronxville Board of Education would set policy regarding field use and lighting. If anything, Hendrick noted, a safe and supervised social environment for students at games on a lighted field could foster more school spirit and build community.
Members of the Committee to Support Bronxville Student Athletes include Scott Bacigalupo, Susan Bettino, Steve Crawford, Stefanos Daskalakis, Kim O'Toole, Brennan Warble, and Molly Hendrick. They believe a reasonable compromise on permanent lighting can be reached among village residents, students, and the school.
Pictured here: The grandstand on Chambers Field at The Bronxville School.
Photo by N. Bower