The addition of lighted baseball fields at Loudoun Valley High School is one step closer after the Purcellville Town Council last week approved a special exception application for the project. The lights are part of a $26 million renovation approved by county voters in November.
The special exception permit authorizes lighting for a relocated softball field as well as a new baseball field. The softball field will have 18 luminaire fixtures mounted on seven 70-foot-high poles. The baseball field will have 40 lights on nine poles—of which four will be 80 feet tall, the maximum mounting height for outdoor sports field lighting allowed under the town’s zoning ordinance—while five poles will be 70 feet high. The fields will be in use no later than 11 p.m., under the terms of the permit.
Although the fields back up to a neighborhood of townhouses, just one person spoke during the council's March 12 public hearing on the matter, former town council member Greg Wagner, who spoke in favor of the lights.
After the vote, Mayor Bob Lazaro said the increased lighting will be a benefit for the high school. “This is great for Valley. I watch my nieces play softball for Loudoun Valley, and it’s nice to know they can continue past the light,” he said, noting the girls’ team has been at a competitive disadvantage since it couldn’t play after dusk. The baseball team heretofore has played at Fireman’s Field, which does have lights.
The new field set-up will require significant rearrangement on the campus, according to schools Assistant Superintendent of Support Services Kevin Lewis. The softball field will be built on the site of the current tennis courts at the northern end of the property, close to the W&OD Trail. The new tennis courts will built behind the school. The new baseball field will be located between the tennis courts and the stadium, according to Lewis. The football concession stand will stay where it is currently, although the restrooms will be relocated.
The work will occur over the next few years, Lewis said, noting the construction would have to work around school schedules and after-school student presence.
“We’re hoping to bid it at the end of the summer. We have to figure out each individual component,” Lewis said. “The phasing plan will be quite a puzzle.”
Lewis estimated the timing of the project to be from the end of this summer to the fall of 2015.