After years of debate the town has offered its full approval for permanent field lights to be installed at Darien High School. The RTM voted 68 to 1 to accept a gift of $662,743 from the Darien Athletic Foundation for the installation of the lights and a new public address system at the stadium. The one “no” vote was by Diane Conologue of District 1.
A site plan detailing the installation of four 80-foot lighting poles and several new speakers was approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission in mid-January. The lighting fixtures will be provided by Musco Sports Lighting and are designed to reduce spillage in the areas surrounding the field. The new speakers will be positioned around the field as opposed to the centralized system that is currently in use. By spreading the range, the speakers will be able to distribute better quality sound throughout the stadium at an overall lower volume.
Based on the agreement between the Board of Education and neighbors of the high school, Team practices and youth groups would be able to use the lights on weekdays until 7:30 p.m. Night games would be restricted to Friday with the exception of FCIAC playoff and championship games and will only feature DHS varsity teams. Those games would be allowed to continue until 10 p.m.
Each Darien varsity sport will have an opportunity to play two home games under the lights, making for a total of 12 games throughout the year, excluding possible playoff games. The lights could also be used for regular weekday games that run late, so long as they were properly scheduled in the standard 4 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. time slots.
The fundraising team for the project, the Darien Lights Brigade, is looking to raise the final $210,000 to fulfill the full amount of the gift by their May 1 deadline. The group is holding a series of local events to help them reach their goal including instructional courses and cocktail meetups. Visit Darienlightsbrigade.com for more information on their efforts.