The next time Pisgah softball takes the field for a game, it will be “under the lights.” The Haywood County Board of Education voted Monday to approve funding and for a project to install floodlights at the stadium.
Haywood County Schools will pay Camp Electric $99,400 to install the lights. The funds will be available July 1, after which time construction can begin. After the lights were approved as a “big-ticket item” on this school year’s capital budget, the board gave it the go ahead at Monday’s school board meeting. Associate Superintendent Trevor Putnam said the project was previously approved by the school board and commissioners.
Camp Electric was one of two bidders for the project, with the other being Haynes Electric in conjunction with MUSCO.
“We are super excited for the Pisgah High softball team,” Putnam said. “They have been without lighting for many years as other schools and school systems have added lights. So to be able to provide them an opportunity to extend their amount of playing time on their home field, is very exciting to all of us.”
Adding floodlights to the stadium first came into focus in January, when the town of Canton voted to transfer the ball park land to Haywood County Schools.
Putnam said the land transfer was key to the move to add the lights, and thanked Mayor Zeb Smathers, the board of aldermen, Town Manager Jason Burrell and Assistant Manager Nicholas Scheuer for their help and cooperation with the land transfer.
“I want to say a special thanks to the town of Canton, who conveyed the land to the school system,” Putnam said. “Without their cooperation and that very generous gift, we would not have been able to complete this project. It doesn’t make good sense to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars upfitting a field that you don’t own. You get into issues with permitting, being able to pull permits and comply with floodway ordinances. By having the ability to own the land, it made this opportunity possible.”
The lights will open new opportunities and extended playing time for Pisgah softball, particularly the JV team.
Often, the JV team only gets to play a few innings after the varsity games before it gets dark, but, with the lights installed, that will no longer be the case.
“Lighting the softball fields is something the team, the school and the community has wanted for years,” said Pisgah softball coach Heidi Morgan. “I played softball at Pisgah in 2002, and even then we talked about having lights.”
In terms of a timeline, Putnam said construction will be allowed to start after the school board receives the funds July 1, and then it’s just a matter of how quickly Camp Electric can complete the work.