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09/20/2022 01:31 PM

Old Saybrook Lights Celebration Slated for Sept. 30

You’re invited: the town will be hosting a celebration of the new ballfield lights at Old Saybrook High School on Friday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m.

It’s hard to find a more iconic image of high school life than heading to watch a football or soccer team playing under the lights on an autumn night. However, until this year, that wasn’t a reality for Old Saybrook residents. But thanks to a years-long campaign and many generous donors, Old Saybrook High School now has lights on their ball fields, and organizers are hoping the community will come celebrate and cheer on the Rams.

Scott Giegerich the co-chair of the Ballfield Lights Committee, as well as a member of the Board of Selectmen, said the town is seeking to spread word about a town celebration before the girls’ soccer game against Morgan on Sept. 30.

“We will hold a brief ceremony and we have a lot of people who bought bricks, so we’re going to show them where the bricks will go,” said Giegerich. “We had at least 300 people who participated in the bricks,” Giegerich added. The ceremony will take place around 6 p.m. and the game begins at 6:30 p.m.

Bringing lights to Old Saybrook High School was a long process that Giegerich said he is happy to see completed.

“It was a dream to have lights for 40 years,” said Giegerich. According to Giegerich, after years of on and off inquiries, about three years ago people started to seriously look into bringing lights to the field.

Applications were filed with the relevant boards and public hearings were held and ultimately the project was granted permission to move forward.

“The concerns were addressed and we were able to do it,” said Giegerich.

With the approval granted, Giegerich said the next step was a yearlong process of raising money for the project.

“Our objective was to raise $100,000 but we raised $200,000 in four months,” said Giegerich. The money was raised by donations as well as a brick project with inscribed bricks that will eventually be placed on a walkway that the organizers are calling “monument way.”

“It was a great project. We’re anticipating the bricks will be actually laid next June or July due to the weather in the fall and winter, and we don’t want to interfere with other sports teams’ schedules,” said Giegerich.

Though the ceremony is next week, the lights have already been used. On Sept. 8 the field hockey team played the first game under the lights and Giegerich said “it was really exciting. I was smiling like crazy.”

Besides the field hockey team, the boys soccer team has also played under the lights, and Giegerich was quite pleased by the amount of people who came.

“It was always a wonder we didn’t have lights, and I was at the game and there were a lot of youngsters who came to watch and then some were playing on the field behind the lights and it was great to see,” said Giegerich.

Beyond the obvious joy the athletes and spectators get out of the lights, Giegerich said the lights also provide an opportunity to draw in visitors to Old Saybrook restaurants as rival school families perhaps spend a few more hours in town pre- or post-game.

“I just think the lights are a good positive community asset,” said Giegerich.