The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Let There Be Lights

Parker-Gray+Stadium+will+undergo+renovations+in+March+of+2019.
Parker-Gray Stadium will undergo renovations in March of 2019.

Parker-Gray Stadium Lights Approved by City Council

Alexis Larsen and Sadie Finn

After over 50 years, T.C. Williams will finally have Friday night lights. Ending a years-long battle in the Alexandria City Council, a landmark decision was made to approve the renovation of Parker-Grey Stadium, including the construction of stadium lights.

The placement of lights on the stadium has been prohibited since the time T.C. was first built. During the construction of T.C. from 1960-1965, the land required for the school was lived on by a community of African American families. The city acquired this land through eminent domain for the high school and the families that had lived there for decades were required to sell their houses to the city. In return, the City promised to not add lights to the stadium, as it would cause disturbance to the surrounding neighborhoods through light spillage and the noise from the crowds at the game. This restricts the school from having night games, with the intent to reduce the amount of light and noise at night.

Currently, T.C. is the only high school in Northern Virginia that does not have lights at its stadium. Even after the 2007 reconstruction of the school, lights were not added to the stadium.

In the past years, Alexandria has been split over the issue of adding lights to the stadium. A group of residents who have advocated for the updating and installment of lights have gained much support from the community. After years of fighting for the stadium update, the City Council voted on the issue on Saturday October 13, 2018.

At the end meeting, the Council voted 6-to-1 in favor of the stadium upgrades. Mayor Allison Silberberg was the only opposing vote. Silberberg said, “Revitalizing the stadium, that is a no brainer, I am all for it. But the lights, that is a different question. It is wonderful to have fun and go out and play sports and to create great memories but we also have to be cognizant of the feeling of others and the promise that was made and the quality of their lives. And the impact that it would have because of the light and the sound.”

The Council approved the stadium upgrade (vote), which includes the addition of new bathrooms, pressbox, concessions, sound system, and lights. Junior Charlotte Despard, a TV Media and Production student, said, “Since I shoot the football games I would like to see a more refreshed scoreboard because it looks cool and is iconic.”

The American tradition of Friday night lights can be an essential part of the high school experience. Despard said, “I think that we need the lights because it is tradition that high schools have Friday night lights.”

The stadium upgrades will create a lot of opportunities for the school, most notably activities such as friday night games that take place after the sun has set. Junior Jason Cocker said, “We are going to not have to do marching band on a Saturday.”

The updates will most likely increase overall stadium attendance. Cocker said, “Now it seems like barely anyone shows up to the games but I think if the lights actually happens, more people will show up to the games.”

As a result of the upgrades, there are high hopes for the future of the Parker-Grey stadium Principal Peter Balas said, “I would love to see the stadium help us with re-energizing our students around pride in coming to events, wanting to be there, supporting their classmates, and even our alumni coming back wanting to see it and take part in it. I hope it is one of the ways to help us increase school pride and have fun.”

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