There won’t be Friday night football under lights at Oak Park and River Forest High School this fall after all.

School officials said Tuesday that lights will not be installed this summer in time for the 2007-08 school year.

The school had planned to make its case at a Village of Oak Park Zoning Board of Appeals hearing tonight. The zoning board was scheduled to deliberate on the school’s application request. But last Friday the school asked for a continuance because a survey conducted by the school as part of the application process discovered that two of the four electrical conduits already installed at the football stadium extend onto village land. Standards to hold the lights, which have yet to be built, would be constructed on top of the conduits at four corners of the stadium.

The two conduits in question are on the southwest (Lake and Linden) and southeast (Lake and East Avenue) sides of the stadium.

The other two are located near the northeast and northwest corners near the baseball field and are not a problem.

The school had planned to construct the standards in August if the zoning board approved its application tonight.

School officials said lights won’t go up until the zoning board approves its application.

The school’s attorney will appear at tonight’s zoning board meeting to ask for a continuance to its August meeting.

Before lights go up, the school will have to relocate the two conduits, which would push any construction of lights well into the upcoming school year, officials said.

The entire lights project is estimated at $200,000. 
The cost to relocate the conduits will be included in that budget, said Jack Lanenga, assistant superintendent for operations, adding that lights will not go up this year.”

The electrical conduits were installed in 2002 during stadium renovations.

The company hired to install the conduits, Musco Lighting, drew up a plan in 2002 that placed the conduits in their current positions. But the company redid the plan this year and moved the southwest and southeast conduits farther away from the field.

Lanenga suggested that the change was made to move the conduits, and subsequent standards and lights once installed, away from the field to prevent possible player injury.

“They wanted them as far away from the field as possible,” Lanenga said.

He added that the southwest pole will likely be moved back to the corner of a gate located along Lake Street. The southeast one was originally placed next to a transformer, also built in 2002, that’s located just off the corner of the field. The transformer will remain where it is but the conduit will likely relocate behind a staircase near the stands.

Lanenga said the school will wait until the school’s mall project, now underway, is completed in August before beginning work on the lights.

Lanenga said the school and village are in talks to transfer the deed of the mall, formerly East Avenue, to the school.

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com

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