Baton Rouge Soccer will soon be able to host more night soccer matches when new lighting is installed on two or three more fields. Plans are now being put into place that will result in lights being added to fields 19, 20 and (possibly) field 18.
Currently fields 4, 5 and 6, and 21 and 22 are fully lighted. Field 20 has partial lighting. The plan to install more lights was adopted by the Baton Rouge Soccer Board of Directors at its January meeting. Adding more lighted fields has been identified in the Strategic Plan as a crucial need to support the club’s long term growth.
Baton Rouge Soccer has long recognized that a shortage of lighted fields has been a pressing problem. Currently, the lighted fields incur the most use, with games being played on them almost every day and night. This over-use has lead to there being no way to maintain a quality playing surface on these fields. The solution has been to take the fields “off line” during the summer (growing) months to allow them to recover.
Funding for the new lights is the result of some aggressive fund-raising over the past year. The Car Raffle held in the fall resulted in $32,000 that will be dedicated to the project. The Board will also draw upon its cash flow, and utilize some dedicated donations to complete the project. In addition, R. R. Cassidy, Inc. will donate their time and expertise to embed and set the poles, and back-fill them with concrete.
The total cost to light one field is $52,000 with the construction as a gift in-kind. As you can see, with existing funds, Baton Rouge Soccer can completely light fields 19 and 20, and can erect the poles for field 18. The club will look to its partner, BREC, and others for assistance in securing lights for this last field.
“The board of Baton Rouge Soccer took a strong step forward with our strategic plan by agreeing to fund the installation of additional lights at the Burbank complex. This action strengthens our financial commitment to BREC and to the community, as well as helps to ensure viable playing facilities for the future,” said Bob Johannessen, Baton Rouge Soccer President.
“In less than a year, our fund-raising efforts have succeed to the degree that we have additional cash to use for the lights, and our budget will allow us to fund the remaining portion of the new light bill without dipping into our reserves,” he added.
In addition to the lights, Baton Rouge Soccer will work with BREC next winter to over seed most of the fields at the complex with a winter rye grass. This was done this year on the five lighted fields. The feedback from members has been positive, convincing the club to continue this field preservation effort next winter.
“Our staff is to be commended for their efforts to push us forward on making Burbank one of the region’s premier soccer facilities. Special thanks to R. R. Cassidy, Inc. for the construction assistance with the lighting project.