MENU

Athletic Field Fall Season Implementation

Athletic Field Fall Season Implementation Report
Posted on 01/24/2020

To: School Committee

From: Amber Bock

Re: Report of Fall Season Implementation: High School Stadium

Date: January 22, 2020


Introduction:

This report summarizes data monitored and assessed for the school committee implementation of the Westborough High School Mewhiney Field since the addition of lighting. With the completed renovation in 2018-2019, the school committee established annual updates to monitor the voted recommendations of the final report Appendix I.  These reports address the guidelines for night games, the hours of lighting, and the sound system. 


Expected annual reports

Fall Game Schedule presented to school committee between May/August. 

Fall Implementation Report: January post fall season.

Other updates and reports as requested


Update:

Following the end of the 2018-2019 shortened fall season, we assessed the installation and implementation of the lights and sound system.  Several important adjustments were made. In August I provided another update to the school committee regarding this work.  August 23rd update.


This fall we again experienced a shortened game schedule for night games due to the regional EEE curfew.  Working with the town Board of Health, we moved games to late afternoon and coordinated the end time for practices and games to coincide with the curfews set at the state level.  I want to commend our Athletic Director and fall coaching staff for working positively to effectively manage a very unanticipated disruption to the fall team schedules.     

 

The lights were mainly used for practices during the 2019 fall season.  The only night games we hosted were:

11/7- 6pm - Girls Soccer

11/15- 7pm- Varsity Football

11/22- 5pm- JV2 Football, 7pm- JV1 Football

 

The “On-Off” record of lighting is provided to share data on time and total hours of light use.  There were two areas of discussion regarding the lights that surfaced at one of the neighborhood meetings and in inquires from community members. The first question was regarding the evening lighting for community use. Several inquiries we made regarding why the lights were left on past the fall season.  This was discussed at last year’s January report as well. While weather allows (no snow on the track), the lights remain on until 5:45pm for the indoor track team to access the track. The main lights then shut down and two lights on each of the four poles remain on for access to the track until 7:30pm for community use. The uplights for field goal kicking are not effective for lighting the track safely.  The second question was regarding ‘hooding” the end lights on the poles. Chris Huntress has been clear that hooding will diminish the light coverage at the goalposts and edges of the field such that game play and visibility for viewing would be impacted. At this time we are not recommending any further action on light modification.  

 

The sound system underwent several modifications. Our outside consultants, Cavanaugh Tocci, provided data on our current implementation. In January of last year, they provided a summary of the fall implementation. This guided our summer testing and changes to the sound system reported in August. Cavanaugh Tocci January Report.  They then returned in October to take a sound sample at Homecoming. This was a day game due to the EEE impacts.   CT November Report One and CT November Summary Two.  These reports have guided additional changes that have allowed us to continue to lower the radius of sound impact. In the fall season of 2020 we will conduct another sound assessment.       

 

No formal noise complaints were received by the police. This is not surprising given the limited night games available. People often worry about leaving a ‘formal complaint’ with the police, so we have encouraged email or calls for people to reach out to us.  A full fall season will yield a more authentic assessment. We did receive a walk over complaint from a neighbor concerned about the noise from the band practicing in the upper parking lot. This was reported directly to the band and to the principal. The confines of the time available, as well as space to practice, impact the options for moving the band to another location or time.  Conversations and calls where neighbors or community members have questions will remain part of our ongoing work. The neighborhood group that has met with us and provided feedback has guided aspects of our work and we work to keep communication open. We have welcomed neighbors walking over to speak with us as needed during games, and both school staff and officers on site welcome those opportunities.  The goal is to maintain various ways of connecting so that neighbors can share feedback.    

 

Conclusion:

It was very disappointing to have the fall season disrupted by the impacting threat of EEE. After years of planning and work to improve the quality of our teams’ playing experience, it was a loss to have a second fall season compromised.  We anticipate working with the Board of Health to set up implementation guidelines so that future issues will be easier to respond to. Regardless, the fall sports season contributed much of that positive energy and school community connection that is an important part of the high school experience.  The larger community can often be found enjoying the facility and visiting for games. Visitors comment on our positive sportsmanship and the quality of our facilities. Providing sports and wellness spaces for our growing school community continues to be a privilege, and we look forward to continuing to provide access and enjoyment for our whole community.