Hingham School Committee members unanimously supported a nighttime football game to occur on Veterans Day, pending approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Athletic Department officials will need to obtain Zoning Board approval tonight to get the final go-ahead for the project, which will bring in a few portable construction lights to enable the varsity football team to play a 6 p.m. game on home turf against Duxbury High.
A similar event that stirred up controversy the last time the high school played a night football game.
“We did it five-six years ago. There was a lot of neighbor angst about that, particularly related to the late decision, and people felt they didn’t have an opportunity to say anything,” said Superintendent Dorothy Galo.
This time around, Hingham High Athletic Director Margaret Conaty contacted residents far in advance about the proposed game, met with residents, and came to committee members prepared with solutions.
It was a tactic that convinced School Committee members, who in the past were hesitant about the idea.
“We wanted to pre-empt concerns. The kinds of concerns that neighbors would have would this would be a game that would be at 6 p.m. at night…and it will be darker,'' Galo said.
"Everything would be done and lights shut off before 9 p.m. Concerns were also for parking, traffic in the neighborhood, trash, things more related to a game than the lights per say, so those are things we take seriously.
"We just need to be good neighbors, and when we can learn about concerns in advance we can be better prepared to deal with them.”
The Veterans Day game was previously scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be moved to the later time slot. There are no back up plans or rain dates scheduled if inclement weather occurs.
Additionally, organizers haven't determined where the money to pay for the equipment will come from, though the cost should be able to be covered by ticket admission prices.
“We’d just like to have a nice event here for the community, and a nice event for our kids to be a part of a night game,” Conaty said. “From there, we will determine where it’s going…if it was a good thing or not.”
Because of the Veterans Day holiday, Hingham will also celebrate alumni who are veterans.
There will also be recognition of Lieutenant Timothy Steele, 25, a Duxbury resident and Duxbury High School graduate who was killed in the war in Afghanistan following the explosion of a roadside bomb in Kandahar.
Although this will be the second time Hingham officials have worked to have a night game for students, it most likely won’t be an annual occurrence going forward.
“[The previous time], it was a single event, and that’s what it is now. We have the whole fields plan, and ultimately when we get to Phase 2 of our phase proposals, lights could be one of the things on the agenda for the community to decide,” Galo said. “I think most people are waiting to see what happens with that. But this is one group of parents, one group of kids, and we don’t have a specific plan.”
Still, administrators are excited to give Hingham students an experience they have been opining for their entire High School careers.
“It’s something that is exciting, having a night football game, so I wanted to try it again, and wanted to see what it would be like with lights that are 30-35 feet in height. It’s seniors’ last home game too, and i'ts Veterans Day, so it would be a pretty nice venue,” Conaty said.