Getting football field lights is not light work

By Brian Huebner and Ian Tseng

Cop lights. Flash lights. Spot lights. Strobe lights. Street lights. Back in 2010, Kanye West advocated for all of the lights. But now, eight years later, Los Altos still doesn’t have football field lights.

This is in spite of the fact that almost every school in the surrounding districts has already installed lights on their respective football fields. Meanwhile, Los Altos remains many yards behind on this trend; for years now, the prospect of having lights on the football field has been less real than a fantasy football team. And it’s caused conflict.

“Since we’ve been forced to play Saturday afternoon, sometimes the field temperature is close to a hundred degrees,” varsity football player senior Evan Bauer-Murphy said. “Last season we even had to change a home game to an away game because of high heat during our normal Saturday afternoon kickoff time. If we could do a Friday Night Lights [game] that wouldn’t have happened. We instead had to drive all the way to Soquel to play a night game. It pissed everybody off.”

Los Altos’ football players are not the only ones who would benefit from having lights. Other sports who use the field would be able to extend practice hours into the evening instead of ending practice when it gets dark — especially during the winter season. Furthermore, with lights comes the opportunity for Los Altos to host home games on the field at night. Bringing this concept of having “Friday Night Lights” games to our school, as well as other events, would fill empty bleachers and boost overall school spirit.

However, a vocal minority of the community have continually advocated against the implementation of field lights. Those living in houses adjacent to the field have repeatedly expressed concern about having excess light and noise disturbing them at night. But this could be solved by using focused, LED lights, as well as setting a curfew for when the lights automatically shut off. In addition, the community could actually benefit as well, as there are very few street lights — if any — in the surrounding neighborhood, having lights on the football field would open up the track to evening joggers.

With the pros outweighing the cons, the athletics boosters have made a significant push for the District Board to give football field lights the green light. Back in August, they put out a petition for the lights that was signed by a whopping 1,400 people in just two weeks. With this petition, the athletic boosters have been able to show the Board that the majority of the community is actually in favor of installing the lights. However, the board has decided to not include the field lights in next year’s $300 million bond, gun-shy about upsetting the community and adding more expenses to their budget.

There’s a lot of building that needs to go on at the school,” athletics booster co-president Robert Crissman said. “What the board doesn’t want to do is have something controversial attached to the bond.”

The boosters aren’t going to let up though, adamant about giving the Los Altos students — and by extension the whole community — the equipment they need to flourish. They plan to continue fighting for the field lights the next upcoming school year. And while the boosters are on the front lines discussing with the board about the lights, students must also advocate for ourselves.

“If you want lights, if your classmates want lights, tell the board,” Crissman said. “Send emails to them, get a petition going yourself on campus. Let the board know that you as the Los Altos Eagles, the student body 2000 strong want lights. You guys are powerful, your voice is powerful, especially if you could bring all of them together.”