Jupiter Christian School officials plan to spend about $250,000 to create a home-team advantage for their Eagles sports teams.
The 547-student private Christian school has proposed building a regulation-sized football field with bleachers with about 500 seats on its 9-acre campus in the Jupiter River Estates neighborhood.
The school’s football team now plays home games off-campus, often at William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens and John I. Leonard High School in Greenacres. The school’s soccer and lacrosse teams also would use the new field for home games.
“We want a field that our Eagles can call their own,” said Jim Colman, the president of the school, which has students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
Building the field would require the school to reduce its on-campus parking to 190 spaces from 216. Parking agreements with nearby Jupiter Lanes and other business are in place to accommodate those who attend the games, Colman said.
The proposal is scheduled to go before the town council Nov. 12. The town’s planning staff recommends approval.
Parking, noise and increased traffic were some of the concerns voiced by nearby residents at the Sept. 10 planning and zoning commission meeting. The commission postponed a vote until its Oct. 8 meeting.
About 60 Jupiter River Estates residents have signed a petition opposing the field and bleachers, said J. Corey Crowley, Jupiter River Estates acting neighborhood association president.
“Traffic and parking from the school is already a problem,” Crowley said. “Games at the field will make it worse.”
While new lights are not a part of the current plan, residents expect the school will request them once the new football field is in place, Crowley said.
“Friday night football is popular,” he said. “That would bring noise and traffic. People would be parking on our swales and driveways. That results in neighborhood blight.”
Lights are being considered, Colman said. New lights for the field would require town council approval, according to Jupiter records.
The area for the proposed field is now used for practice for the sports teams. If the plan is approved, the football team — which would draw the largest crowds — would play about five games a year on the field, Colman said.
Jupiter Christian pays about $1,700 per game to rent fields to play their home games, Colman said. It plays teams such as North Broward Preparatory School, Glades Day School, Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches and Boca Raton Christian School during their 12-game football season. They also play public high schools such as Inlet Grove and Park Vista.
“Neighborhoods near schools get better when the schools get better,” Colman said. “We want to be the best neighbors we can.”