SOUTHLAKE (CBSDFW.COM) – Southlake’s Carroll ISD has committed to buying new lights for its baseball and softball teams. It just hasn’t decided where to put them.

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Homeowners upset about the potential for well-lit backyards in addition to ball fields are pushing the district to scrap the plan or find a new location for the lights, putting them at odds with athletic boosters eager to play night games on their home fields.

Board members are scheduled to take the issue up Monday, in a debate that has drawn hundreds of residents to previous meetings. The district is spending more than $300,000 for the lighting, using funds left over from a 2009 bond issue.

With no lights on the field now, athletes regularly leave class early in order to get home games in before sundown. To avoid skipping class, the softball team has regularly played at a park instead, which has lights. Jamie Wimberly, who has a daughter on the team, said the lighting improvements are more academic than athletic.

“If we’re constantly pulling them out of class to go to games, pre-games and travel, the parents just aren’t happy about that,” she said.

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Residents and home owners associations that back up to Carroll Senior High though are concerned about the lighting’s impact beyond the ball fields. The potential for late night lighting, larger crowds and its effect on property value have residents pushing the district to look for another option.

Lauren Cele stood in her backyard which backs up to the high school as the sun went down this week. There was some noise from the school tennis courts. The low lights there were visible. The ball field lights she feels would be far more intrusive.

“My concern is the lighting, glaring into my children’s bedrooms, as well as the noise levels,” she said.
District officials have met with residents, and had a representative from a lighting company try to ease their fears about spill over. District officials have considered installing the lights at Carroll High School where freshmen and sophomores attend. The City of Southlake has also offered to have them installed at a new park that starts construction next year. There are no plans though, to include a softball field at that facility.

The Board next meets on December 3 at Johnson Elementary School.

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