The long tradition of daytime-only football games at Menlo-Atherton High School is under intensifying scrutiny.
As wary Atherton neighbors argue for a go-slow approach out of concern for unwanted noise, light and possibly crime intruding into their community during night games, M-A's football and lacrosse boosters are pushing for lights.
The idea gained momentum last October, when M-A hosted Sacred Heart Preparatory High School in an experimental night football game that proved both popular and profitable.
The governing board of the Sequoia Union High School District moved things along on Wednesday, Jan. 20, by unanimously approving a $31,000 two-month environmental-impact study by Menlo Park-based TRA Environmental Sciences.
The study will assume the use of permanent lights and will include conversations with all stakeholders, including neighbors, officials at M-A, and possibly contacts in local government in Menlo Park and Atherton, school district spokeswoman Bettylu Smith said via e-mail.
In a nod to the complexity of the issue, the Sequoia board in its initial look at the matter in November had discussed the possibility of long-term use of temporary lights.
Portable generator-driven lights run about $2,500 per use, Ms. Smith said. Clean and quiet "higher quality" temporary lights tied to the electrical grid would cost between $30,000 and $50,000 per year, she said.
Permanent lights would cost the district about $250,000.