By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — It’s time to shed some light on the Pinkerton Academy sports program.
Lights are coming to the school’s upper athletic field, including the football field and track, in time for night games next season.
Pinkerton is the only Division I Class L school without lights on their main football field/track area. Once installed, lighting will be used for the first home football game of the 2013-2014 season on Sept. 13 against Manchester Central High School.
Until now, Pinkerton played its home football games on Saturday afternoons.
The night lights will be financed through the Academy’s “Campaign for Excellence” fundraising drive, now in its 20th year. The estimated cost is $150,000.
Money raised is not be used for the school’s tuition-funded operating budget, but instead finances special projects in areas including facility expansion, alumni, education enhancement and endowment growth.
A first fundraising event to kick off that campaign was a golf tournament started in 1993 and still held today.
The campaign has supported other purchases through the years including handbells, tennis courts, banquets for sports teams and art department equipment.
The field lights to be installed will be very energy efficient and environmentally friendly and are a tightly focused umbrella pattern style to minimize any ambient light in the area while games are being played.
The light style is similar to the lights now in use at Londonderry High School.
Light installation is set to begin in late Mary and be completed in June. The entire purchase and installation cost of the lights will be set once the bidding process begins. The cost will have no impact on the tax rate in Pinkerton’s contracted communities of Derry, Chester, Hampstead and Auburn.
“All the money to put the lights up was raised through fundraisers and contributions from alumni,” said George Tsetsilas, Pinkerton Academy Alumni Association president.
There are four home football games next year on Friday nights along with the annual Mack Plaque and Homecoming contest against Londonderry on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Pinkerton.