Installation of MHS Lights Awaiting Negotiators' Green Light
• Electrical Prep Is Underway While Fine-Tuning of Schedule for Post Usage Is Being Finalized
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
Despite ongoing legal negotiations between the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District, the City of Malibu, the Malibu Township Council and the Malibu Community Preservation Alliance—an organization of concerned residents that formed earlier this year to contest the decision to permit more than 60 nights of night light use and the installation of permanent 70-foot-tall poles topped with a total of 48 1500-watt light fixtures at the school's athletic field—construction workers at Malibu High School were digging trenches this week for the electrical wiring required for the lighting project.
The poles have also arrived at the site, and are being stored until other installation is finalized.
Steve Uhring, a representative of the Malibu Township Council, told the Malibu Surfside News that he is optimistic that negotiations can be concluded in time for this year's homecoming game.
"Everyone agrees about homecoming," Uhring said. "What we don't want to see is the athletic field becoming a rentable athletic venue.
In 2009, the plan called for events at the high school field some 200-plus nights a year," Uhring explained in an email.
"A recent announcement from the SMMUSD describes the district's new website that allows interested parties to identify and rent school district properties on evenings and weekends," Uhring added, indicating that residents will continue to adamantly oppose any plan to expand the number of nights and that the lawsuit was necessary because the school district has done little to dispell concerns that light use will not be monitored and that the number of nights will continue to expand, despite restrictions established by the California Coastal Commission to limit the negative environmental impact.
Before granting approval for the lighting plan in June, the Malibu City Council required that the school remove the light fixtures during the months when the lights are not in use. Observers say that the negotiations over the final lighting plan may include a provision to also remove the top portion of the 70-foot poles when the lights are not in use.