It was standing room only in the auditorium of Johnson Elementary School Tuesday night as hundreds of Southlake residents, student athletes and their parents turned out to hear how the Carroll School Board would respond to a recommendation to add lights to the baseball and softball fields at Carroll Senior High School.
Following input from about 18 speakers including Southlake Mayor John Terrell, and numerous cheers and standing ovations from the audience, Trustees voted 6-0 to fund lights for baseball and softball fields on Carroll ISD property. The Board left the option open, however, where to place the lights – at Carroll Senior High School or at Carroll High School. Board President Read Ballew said Trustees plan to review the CISD sites carefully before a final vote December 3.
More than 300 people attended the meeting to learn the outcome of a project list recommended by a Citizens’ Bond Advisory Committee. The BAC oversees construction projects approved by voters in the May 2009 Bond Program. With most projects complete or drawing to an end, the Committee prioritized project spending for the remaining 2009 bond funds. In addition to the baseball and softball lighting projects, Trustees approved an interval training track for cross country and science lab renovations at Carroll Senior High School. They also approved $250,000 in new band instruments, $200,000 from 2009 funds and $50,000 remaining from the 2006 bond program. Band Booster Leslie Westerman spoke to Trustees in support of the instruments.
The Board did not take action on the rest of the project list, but Trustees expect to continue their discussion of the proposed projects at the next meeting. Among other items still left to be decided are covered walkways at various schools, pavement work and repairs to the indoor workout facility. In total, the BAC recommended about $2.8 million in prioritized projects from the remaining 2009 bond funds.
Residents from Stone Lakes and Park Place Home Owners Associations were present Tuesday night to voice their opposition to adding lights to the fields at Carroll Senior High School. They were outnumbered, however, by members of the baseball and softball teams and their parents. Carroll school officials held an informal meeting Monday night to answer questions and provide information to residents from both HOAs. Of primary concern to the homeowners were the negative effects they say lights would have on their property values, as well as the additional noise and trash caused by hosting games on the CSHS campus.
Mayor Terrell offerred what he described as a “win-win” for everyone involved by allowing the baseball team to play at Bicentennial Park. There are no softball facilities for high school competitions at that location, however, so the Lady Dragons would have to continue playing at Bob Jones Park. Parents said they prefer for their children to be able to play on their home campus, citing Title IX concerns about inequities between male and female athletes. Another option discussed by homeowners was to have CISD purchase property away from CSHS to build lighted fields. CISD Trustees said they do not find it economical to buy property when fields already exist at both CSHS and CHS.
The Board next meets on December 3 at Johnson Elementary School. Meetings begin with executive session at 5:30 p.m. and open session at 6:30 p.m. Agendas are posted 72 hours in advance.