School board meeting to debate field lights proposal elicits high turnout


Orianna Schwartz

Over 100 members of the MVLA community and neighbors of both schools attended a school board meeting on August 13th to debate the possible installation of field lights on both the MVHS and LAHS campuses.

Opinions in favor of lights were voiced largely by MVLA student athletics and marching bands, while opposition generally came from neighboring residents.

Supporters of the lights said nighttime field usage will benefit student life, school activities and community bonding. The MVHS and LAHS Athletic and Instrumental Music Boosters and the MVHS Sixth Man Club have publicly supported the project.

Residents of Waverly Park and North Los Altos voiced concerns about increased light, noise, and sound pollution, traffic, and security. Doubts of the lights’ necessity arose, although several members of MVLA’s athletics and music department were adamant that field lights are long overdue.

Athletes and musicians are frustrated that MVLA is the only district in Santa Clara County where students have to leave class early in order to attend practices and competitions before daylight runs out. This creates an academic and competitive disadvantage for students with extracurriculars.

Supporters argue field lights would mutually benefit MVLA schools and neighbors, increasing school spirit and community by increasing participation in school events hosted in the evening.

A letter signed by MVLA Superintendent Jeff Harding in June invited neighbors to voice their concerns.

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Waverly Park’s more dubious neighbors are concerned the district will neglect neighborhood voices once the lights are completed. MVHS already faces animosity over the volume of the PA system and brightness of pool lights installed in 2016.

Construction of the lights would take 38 weeks, and cost the district approximately 1,348,550 dollars split between both schools. This does not include maintenance and electricity fees, and is not covered by the Measure E fund.

Community members on both sides are concerned that in order to pay for the lights, the district will begin leasing the fields to third-party organizations which may further increase the impact on the neighborhood.

The MVLA School Board will decide if a vote will be held at a later date.