Opposition from residents around Jupiter Christian School is expected Tuesday when school officials plan to present a $250,000 proposal for a new football field with 500-seat bleachers for the Eagles sports teams.
The teams now use the current campus field, about half the size of a regulation football field, for practice. The varsity football team — which draws the biggest crowds — would play about five Friday night games a year on the new field, said Jim Colman, president of the 547-student private Christian school on South Delaware Boulevard.
“Now, we play our home games at other schools. A new field would give the Eagles a field of their own,” Colman said.
Traffic, parking, noise and litter are already problems created by the school, according to a petition being circulated by area residents, many of whom live in the nearby Jupiter River Estates neighborhood.
“A new football field would make these problems worse,” said Justin LaCross, a resident of Delaware Boulevard.
Conditions for approval include:
— Requiring the pre-K-12th-grade school to drop its maximum enrollment from about 970 to about 870 students.
— Staggered parent pick up/drop off times, now only in the afternoon, would be added in the morning.
— New landscaping would be installed.
— Loudspeakers used by school officials to call for parents to pick up their children in the parking lots would be silenced.
“We are doing everything we can to address the issues with the neighborhood,” Colman said.
The town Planning & Zoning Commission, which will conduct Tuesday’s hearing at 7 p.m., can recommend either approval or denial to the town council. The council is not bound by the recommendation. The council is scheduled to vote on the issue Dec. 17.
Building the field would require the school to reduce its on-campus parking to 190 spaces from 216. Parking agreements with the nearby Jupiter Lanes bowling alley and other business are in place to accommodate those who attend games on the 9-acre campus, Colman said.
While new lights aren’t part of the plan, residents expect the school will request them once the new football field is in place, said Jupiter River Estates resident Corey Crowley, who is circulating a petition against the proposal.
Lights are being considered, Colman said. New lights for the field would require town council approval, according to Jupiter records.
Residents welcome an opportunity to voice their concerns about the school, LaCross said.
“This isn’t direct opposition to the football field. The concerns about safety, noise and traffic have been sore subjects with the school for a long time,” LaCross said.