Casey DiBari – 1851 Staff
Scattered across the lawns of Newton, you may have seen signs that read “Stop Lasell’s Stadium Lights, 70-foot lights don’t belong in Auburndale.” These signs are part of a protest regarding Lasell’s plans to put lights on Grellier Field. The disagreement caught attention outside Newton when an article in the Boston Globe was published over the summer. It expressed how worried our neighbors are and why they do not want the lights. While these worries are under- stood, it would only be fair to share our side of the story.
There is concern that the lights will illuminate the entire neighborhood, spilling in the windows of homes and cause health issues. However, the lights the college has obtained are designed to avoid this. These lights have two brightness settings and will always be facing towards the field. The brightest lights will only be used during games, which would only be about twice a week. Dimmer lights will be on most of the time, and this setting is not much brighter than our parking lots.
The community is distressed about how late the lights will be on during the year. Rest assured, the lights would be off for at least four and a half months, including our school’s summer and winter vacations, as well as spring break mid-semester. Although we rent the field out to non-profit organizations, they are not be allowed to use the lights. On top of that, the lights would only be turned on once the sun goes downs, and the school is currently working with the neighbors to find a reason- able time to turn them off that works for everyone.
Lasell’s athletes need the field as their greatest re- source for practices, and it is unfair that times on the field are cut short once the sun goes down. If we have lights, these athletes will have a better opportunity to practice more, and thus improve their performance. While we do live in a residential neighbor- hood, and respect those who live within it, we are a school, and denying us something that will help our athletes, that many other colleges get the privilege to have, doesn’t seem respectful to us.
The only other problem Lasell faces is that the two lights are stationed within a historic district, however, Lasell is currently working to obtain an official permit. At this time, the school does have plans to advance further than this, and if they do get the permits, I believe the school will be respectful enough to have them carefully installed.
In truth, the school is trying to work with the neighbors, despite what the Boston Globe may have previously stated. It is understood why the town is upset, and we wish to respect this community that we share with them, but all the signs do is try to paint our institution as an enemy of the people.