Environmental Report Discusses Impact of Athletic Renovation

It is often said that Cupertino is enclosed in a bubble that keeps the city isolated and quiet. That bubble may pop soon.

FUHSD recently commissioned David J. Powers & Associates to write an  MVHS-specific Draft Environmental Impact Report that analyzes the consequences of renovating the fields and track. The renovation would include reconstructing the track, replacing the fields with synthetic turf and installing sports lights. According to the DEIR, the project would significantly increase neighborhood noise levels, as sports lights would result in more home games and practices.

The DEIR states that if sports lights are installed as proposed, increased noise levels will significantly impact the community. Photo illustration by Dominique Pieb.

The report states that the noise can be reduced to a “less than significant” level, but at a cost – cutting the maximum use of fields and lights by 73 percent. Sports teams would only be allotted 173 hours per year to use the lights, instead of the planned 638 hours. Other suggestions offered by the DEIR include eliminating the lights and terminating the entire renovation project.

“[Such measures would] limit the capability of the athletic program…which doesn’t make any sense to me,” varsity football coach Jeff Mueller said. “Noise is not a problem…the people over at Cupertino [High School] have been dealing with it for over 40 years.”

Others, like parent Julie Irvin, have expressed disapproval for raising Cupertino’s noise levels.

“[The DEIR states that noise will be] above what’s acceptable in the city of Cupertino,” Irvin said. “ I’m pretty concerned [about the noise].”

Besides noise, the renovation project entails many other consequences, ranging from endangering subterranean objects to threatening nearby raptors. The DEIR assures that these problems can be rendered less than significant if mitigation measures are followed

The report states that the sports lights by themselves would increase annual greenhouse emissions by 16.9 metric tons; however, other components of the renovation would reduce emissions. The synthetic turf would decrease water use by 7.3 million gallons per year, while home games would lower pollution, as MVHS teams, fans and band would no longer have to travel to CHS. The net increase, then, in annual greenhouse emissions would only be 7.4 metric tons.

Parking overflow on game days is another preventable problem addressed in the DEIR. Given that FUHSD would allow attendees to park at Lincoln Elementary School and Kennedy Middle School, the DEIR calculates that total parking would accommodate 2,540 spectators (approximately 200 more than the stadium’s maximum capacity).

Comments on the DEIR can be sent to [email protected] until Aug. 30. FUHSD Board of Trustees will take the final Environmental Impact Report into consideration when determining the project’s fate.