San Marin will install stadium lights on its football field within the next two years, according to Craig Pitti, the co-athletic director of San Marin. In May 2017, the NUSD Board of Trustees approved the construction of lights on the San Marin football field. Although the project has been approved, the board has yet to confirm a start date of construction.
Pitti said there are still a number of steps which will need to be completed before the lights can be installed. Funding, as well as approval from the California Department of State Architects, which oversees school projects, need to be fulfilled he said.
The estimated cost of the entire project is around $800,000, and the costs of the lights will be split between the district and the sports boosters Pitti said. With money from private donations, the boosters are almost halfway to their fundraising target and plan to conduct other events to push them towards this goal, he said.
Some of San Marin’s residential neighborhoods have expressed concerns about the stadium lights since the project’s proposal. One neighbor told the Marin Independent Journal he was worried about the noise the night games would bring. Vice Principal Mike Casper said noise was a common concern throughout the process. Although the decision to implement the lights is finalized, NUSD addressed the neighbors’ concerns in a list of regulations. The district states the lights won’t be used on the weekends, with the exception of playoff games, and they will be turned off by 8:30 p.m. With hopes to minimize noise, NUSD has banned the use of noisemakers, including band instruments, at the games.
To help ease the relationship with the neighbors, Principal Mark Sims would like students to be the ones to communicate with the neighbors.
“I would like to see how the students would like to work with the neighbors, what they would like to offer as potential ideas to help them understand the perspective of the students and the perspective of nighttime athletics,” Sims said. Casper, like Sims, wanted the school’s relationship with the neighbors over the lights to improve.
“Invite them to the games with open arms and let them be part of the San Marin community,” Casper said. He sees the football game a community event, not just a sporting event.
Despite the neighbors’ feelings, many students and staff are excited about what the lights will mean for the school.
“San Marin has a tremendous, supportive student body we see at various events throughout the year,” Pitti said. “I think lights will help us grow, to expand community support, so families from all over the San Marin area can come out to support our teams.”
Sims is eager about the addition of lights on San Marin’s field. At his previous schools, the football games were played at night, mostly on Thursdays or Fridays.
“It is part of the high school experience. Generally Friday is reserved for football,” Sims said. Casper also emphasized this opinion.
“Friday high school, Saturday college, Sunday pro,” Casper said. “It’s more of a traditional approach to football.”
Although senior Colin Hickey, the varsity football quarterback, will graduate San Marin before the lights are installed, he said he is still excited. He thinks the Friday night games will change the size of the crowd.
“Everyone will come out to the game, because when we’re playing in the heat at two o’clock, no one comes out, and it’s not as fun,” Hickey said. He expects the Friday night games to have a completely different energy than the Saturday afternoon ones do. “It becomes more intense, you feel like everyone’s watching, instead of [having] no one come out.”
“On a Friday night, it’s more than a football game; it’s a community event that brings the community together at the end of the week,” Casper said.