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Plan Commission approves HHS stadium lighting

Superintendent Nick Ouellette presented an example of the lights to the plan commission on Jan. 24. The lights on the far right show what the district’s lights will look like.(submitted photos)1 / 2
Musco Sports Lighting Inc., has worked with other schools on similar lighting projects. This photo from the company shows an example at Waukesha West High School.2 / 2

Though the poles will be higher, Hudson School Superintendent Nick Ouellette assured the plan commission that the new stadium and tennis court lights at the high school will allow the school to be good neighbors.

At its regular meeting Jan. 24, the commission approved a conditional use permit for 90-foot and 100-foot poles for the football stadium and 60-foot poles for the tennis courts, all part of the school's construction project.

Though no one spoke at the public hearing during the most recent meeting, comments from the previous meeting and letters to the commission expressed concern about the effect of the lights on the surrounding area and the time frame for their use.

Ouellette explained with new technology the lights will have a minimum impact outside of the area they're designed to light. The lights are directed down, with the front covered, so the field is lit but outside areas are not.

"The high poles work," Ouellette said. "We don't want to light people's backyards because we have to pay for that."

While it is hard to determine an exact time the lights will go off, Ouellette said, the school will make sure it stays within a reasonable time.

"It is in our best interest, and obviously the best interest of the community, to not have them on any longer than is absolutely necessary."

In the stadium, Ouellette said football, soccer, and track and field will use the lights when needed.

Council Member Randy Morrissette said he understand residents' concerns, but was convinced by research into the lights and the relationship with the school.

"I have no doubt this technology and your policies will be a good fit," he said.

The lights at the tennis courts will allow the school to host tournaments with fewer courts. They will be on 60-foot poles instead of lower ones to further control the lighting.

"The higher the pole, the more we can direct the light straight down," Ouellette said.

Ouellette said the courts will also be open for community use. These lights could feature a switch at the court for community members to turn on for their own use.

Ouellette said these lights would be restricted, with 10 p.m. being the latest cut off time.

Commission Member Pat Casanova said he didn't want to see the city regulating the time the lights can be used, as it currently doesn't regulate lighting at other fields. He said instead it should be left to the school's discretion.

"I'm convinced the school district is considering its neighbors," he said. "At some point we have to turn it over to them and say they know what they're doing."

Community Development Director Denny Darnold explained the commission could add a year review to the permit, but said he did not recommend it.

The commission agreed to approve both permits for the stadium and tennis courts without an additional review.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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