Study into lights and turf at school fields gets Newport-Mesa board’s OK

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District board approved an agreement Tuesday for a feasibility study to install permanent sports lighting and artificial turf at three Costa Mesa school sites.

The district is paying Riverside-based architectural firm Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke $45,000 for the effort.

The district received the funds from the city of Costa Mesa, after the city council approved the allocation in April with the goal of making athletic fields available year-round at Kaiser Elementary School, Davis Magnet School and Parsons Field.

Parsons, though rented by the Waldorf School of Orange County, is owned by the district.

Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke’s study will evaluate the project’s cost, create a timeline and examine various environmental issues.

At Kaiser, the study will evaluate lighting two baseball fields and a third field, as well installing artificial turf.

Davis Magnet’s study will include a proposal to construct a parking lot connecting visitors to other nearby lots.

Costa Mesa officials have said lighting the three sites makes the most geographical sense, as they’re located in northern, eastern and western slices of the city.

At some fields, the city supplies portable lights, but their power generators have been problematic because of noise and exhaust. The portables also require fencing when used for extended periods of time.

Costa Mesa officials believe installing permanent lighting, rather than continuing to use portables, will curb the amount of unwanted light spilled onto adjacent residences. They also favor artificial turf because it reduces water use and maintenance needs.

According to city documents, should the studies determine that the new lights and turf are workable, another agreement with more specific conditions would need to be negotiated and approved by both the school board and council.

The city also plans to seek input from the schools’ neighbors on the project.

Daily Pilot staff writer Luke Money contributed to this report.

Daily Pilot staff writer Luke Money contributed to this report.