When you hear Friday Night Lights, the first thought that may come to mind is the TV series (and film) about a high school football team in rural West Texas. But Friday night lights have now arrived at Colorado Academy—not for football players, but for the many students who play field sports.
In mid-December, CA began installing a new lighting system at Slater Field, the turf field west of Pierce Street. With these lights, students who play Field Hockey, Lacrosse, and Soccer can practice before sunrise and later in the day as it gets dark. They can also play evening games.
“This is really a game-changer for the school,” says Director of Athletics Bill Hall. “I am so grateful to everyone who has made this possible because it shows that CA believes that athletics are important to the education of the whole child.”
What makes this a ‘game-changer’
Hall is not indulging in hyperbole when he uses the word “game-changer.” It was not uncommon for a game on Slater Field to end prematurely because the sun had set and there simply wasn’t enough light to finish. Now games can be completed, and even scheduled to be played, after sunset.
The lights will enhance the athletic experience of many students at CA. There are 79 Upper School girls playing Field Hockey on four teams, plus additional Middle School girls taking up the sport. There are 70 boys playing Lacrosse at CA and 50 girls, many of whom have already played on teams that have won six straight State Championships.
What makes the new lights special
Director of Operations Jesse Schumacher is supervising the installation of four 70-foot tall light poles, which will hold environmentally friendly LED lights. The poles are located along the sidelines of Slater Field and the new lights will create zero light pollution. The height of the pole actually limits the “spill” of the lights, focusing it downward, so it will not shine in the eyes of drivers on Pierce Street.
“When we talked with vendors, we kept in mind what kind of players would be using the field with these lights,” says Schumacher. “We made decisions about what kind of lights to use, so that the highest level of athletes playing fast-moving ball sports will be comfortable playing on the field.”
Lighting for Slater Field will be finished by early 2022.