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Neighbors Call ‘Penalty’ On Proposed Stadium

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
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TARRANT COUNTY (CBS 11 NEWS) – A private school’s plan to turn a practice field into a football stadium is drawing a ‘penalty flag’ from neighbors.

The Pantego Christian Academy’s design puts the stadium just across the fence from a west Arlington residential neighborhood.

“It’s hard not to get emotional about it, because for me, this is where I grew up,” explained Cynthia Garcia, whose home us in the shadow of what was then Pantego Bible Church, now Pantego Christian Academy.

The sprawling school campus now encompasses an old department store to the west and occupies several blocks of Park Row.

Currently the academy’s practice field is on the east. But plans for a 1,000-seat stadium, press box, public address system, and 70-foot tall light poles have some neighbors bearing more than they can stand.

Garcia says the addition. “Changes the whole dynamic of what this neighborhood is.”

David Cornelius built in the neighborhood nearly 30 years ago.  “It was all nice and quiet and this was going to be a good retirement home for me,” he told CBS 11 News from the front room of his home. Now, Cornelius projects that stadium traffic and noise will be unbearable.  “We’d be up half the night on different nights here, and it would destroy the neighborhood.”

Pantego Christian Academy is home to some 240 high school students, who play football in Maverick Stadium at UT Arlington. Academy administration says they aren’t sure how long that agreement can go on, given the fact Arlington ISD wants to return to the university facility.

“AISD now wants back in… don’t know how long we’ll have the relationship with UTA to be able to play there,” said PCA Headmaster Jay Pritcher.

The headmaster also says the academy’s stadium plans are already proper for the proposed zoning area.  “We can build a stadium. We can build the field; we can do all of that. We can put up 30-foot tall light poles back there.  The reason we’re [meeting] in front of planning and zoning right now is we want to put up 70-foot tall poles, because with today’s technology it’s much like a flashlight pointed down at the field.   We’re able to limit glare up high and we’re able to limit spill, so it becomes much less of an intrusion on neighbors.”

The plan is for the new field to have four poles with six lights each.

Pantego Christian Academy goes back to the City of Arlington Planning and Zoning Commission next Wednesday for its blessing.  Neighbors say they’ll be there, too, to argue against it.

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