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Norwich - High school boys' soccer teams from Ledyard, Griswold and Norwich Free Academy were the first to play games under the newly installed permanent lights at the NFA athletic field Thursday evening.
NFA Athletic Director Gary Makowicki said the three teams played a series of half-game pre-season scrimmages Thursday evening after Musco Sports Lighting of Iowa tested the new lights the previous evening.
"Everyone who was there last night was impressed with how well the field was lit," Makowicki said Friday.
Makowicki said technical tests still are needed to ensure the entire field is receiving even, consistent light from the new towers.
"Though technologically advanced, the equipment still needs a lot of fine-tuning. Technicians from Musco Lighting will be visiting us several times in the next weeks to calibrate the lighting for maximum efficiency and effectiveness," NFA spokesman Geoff Serra said.
NFA plans a grand unveiling called "NFA Shines" on Sept. 19, the night of the first home football game between the NFA Wildcats and Old Lyme Vikings. There will be a pre-game reception in the Slater Memorial Museum Atrium, and pre-game ceremonies begin at 5:30 p.m. with ceremonial lighting.
Until then, NFA teams will use the lights for evening practices as fall sports get underway, Makowicki said.
The NFA board of trustees approved hiring Musco Lighting in March for $430,107 to install permanent lights at the athletic field for the first time in school history. The light towers are designed to project light onto the field and NFA grounds while not spilling into the surrounding neighborhood. Additional lights were added to the project for grounds security.
Makowicki said part of Musco's test next week will be to ensure that light "spillage" into the neighborhood is not occurring. He said the school received no calls from neighbors after Wednesday night's test and Thursday's soccer scrimmages.