SOUTHLAKE -- Dragon baseball and softball players will finally be able play at night games at Carroll Senior High School after school trustees unanimously approved spending $331,000 to install lights at their fields, ending an ongoing dispute between the school district and people who live near the school.Trustees voted 5-0 in favor of contracting with Iowa-based Musco Sports Lighting to install sports lighting at both varsity softball and baseball fields at the high school. Two trustees, Fred Stovall and Craig Rothmeier, were not present at the special meeting.Money remaining from the district's 2006 bond issue will be used for the project, Superintendent David Faltys told the board Thursday. Installation is expected to begin in upcoming weeks and is expected to be completed in two months.The school board vote took place a day after the Southlake City Council approved a variance that would allow for the installation of 14 light poles."We are just looking forward to opening day under the lights," said Jamie Wimberly, whose son and daughter play baseball and softball for Carroll.The issue has been a lightning rod of sorts, and hundreds of Southlake residents have attended school board, planning and zoning and city council meetings both in support and opposition of the lights.People who live near Carroll Senior High School have argued that lighted fields would drop their property values and adversely affect their quality of life.In an effort to appease the homeowners, Trustee John Thane said the outfield lights will be turned off immediately after the games end. One infield light will remain for post-game maintenance and clean-up.Supporters of the Dragon baseball and softball players argued that the lack of lights resulted in high school athletes having to play all games during the day, forcing the student-athletes to miss classes.Parents said their athletes will be able to play in a venue that can build a buzz around the baseball and softball programs."The softball field never had a home field advantage," said Patti Walter, whose daughter is a senior and a softball player.
Audio: Carroll official addresses Planning and Zoning on lights in April 2010