T. C. Williamsí Tennis Courts
2013-12-14 City Council abrogated a 2007 agreement among the ACPS and SHA residents and approved the installation of lights on the six new tennis courts at T. C. Williams High School. SHA residents had objected strenuously to the lights (not the courts). The Planning Commission had advised Council to build the courts but not to light them. The ACPS has allocated less than $500,000 for the courts that are estimated to cost $800,000 and the lights will add another $200,000 to the cost.
2013-12-09 SHA Board Members met to discuss comments made at a December 5, 2013 School Board meeting about the proposal to put lights on the six tennis courts at T. C. Williams High School. During the School Board meeting, members had discussed installing the conduits and junction boxes for the proposed lights without Council approval. ACPS staff noted during the meeting that the community was told repeatedly by the Athletic Director, tennis coach, and ACPS staff that the students had no need for lights at the new tennis courts. SHA Board Members were surprised to learn from the School Board meeting that the ACPS has no funds now or in the near future to install the lights on the tennis courts. ACPS staff noted that the Parks and Recreation Department appears to be the “driver” for the addition of the lights to this project. SHA Board Members speculated that if City Council were to approve the installation of lights at the tennis courts, the Parks and Recreation Department may suddenly come up with the funds and “transfer” them to ACPS or by some other budget “drill.”
SHA Board Members updated their October motion supporting the courts but not the lighting them: “Seminary Civic Association and Seminary Hill Association, Inc. support the construction of school tennis courts on the T. C. Williams campus and support the continuation of the prohibition of lighting on any athletic fields, such as tennis courts and the football stadium.” They also agreed to send a letter and a copy of the transcript of the School Board’s discussion about the lights for the tennis courts to City Council.
2013-12-03 Planning Commission approved ACPS plans for six tennis courts at T. C. Williams High School but not the lights.
2013-10-10 SHA members discussed concerns about the proposal to put lights on the new tennis courts planned for T. C. Williams High School. Residents fear abrogating the 2007 DSUP prohibiting lights on any playing fields would bring pressure to light the football stadium and other playing fields. Lighting the football stadium would not mean a few Friday night football games a year but activities, noise, and trash seven nights a week, 52 weeks a year. Also, light would shine onto private property every night and, on occasion all night, given the City’s track record with the lights at Minnie Howard and the Fort Ward Park soccer field. The students have no need for lights on the tennis courts because their matches are in daylight hours. SHA passed a motion unanimously that it “supports the continuation of the prohibition of lighting on any athletic fields, such as tennis courts and the football stadium, on the T. C. Williams High School campus.”
2013-09-12 The City presented updated plans to build six tennis courts at T. C. Williams High School. SHA was surprised to learn the plans, which had been discussed since 2012, now included lights on the courts in violation of the DSUP for the school.