Ed Adams sent Lake Forest Patch the following letter to the editor:
I reside in the city of Lake Forest, one block north of El Toro High School and have lived there for 36 years. I am very proud of our community and our schools as both of my kids attended El Toro High School, receiving a quality education by a very caring and professional staff. I am an advocate of the "Proposed Lighting and Bleacher Project" that is being considered at El Toro High School. As a former and retired educator we always wanted to do what was best for kids. I believe a project of this nature brings a tremendous amount of school and community pride along with bringing an identity to a void that has existed since the school was built 38 years ago.
I attended the initial meeting that was held on May 24th in the ETHS gymnasium. The meeting was conducted by the former principal, Dr. Allan Mucerino and with your team of professional experts. Throughout the evening I listened and heard both sides, those in opposition and those proponents of the proposed project. The major concern of those in opposition were noise, lighting, and parking. As I assessed everything everyone was very sensitive to those who were not in favor and addressed the concerns very professionally with a power point presentation that was very rational to review the concerns. There was ample time for Q and A as well.
Dr. Mucerino and his team stressed the new toned down lighting in the stadium compared to when stadiums were built several years ago that ETHS would be using 4, 80' light posts instead of 8. To alleviate parking concerns, he was offering on campus and depending on the expected crowd for the event utilizing the La Madera Elementary School parking lot along with Serrano Middle School and assisting with transportation from the school to the stadium. He certainly showed a high level of concern and sensitivity in order to be a good neighbor. The proposed stadium is to be able to host 4,200 spectators. Over the last several years for the most part the stadiums are not filled to capacity.
I have reviewed the DEIR report that has adequately described the environmental impacts of this project. I feel this is fairly standard when a project of this nature within a residential community is being considered. The measures lower the impacts of visual appearance, Lights and Glare with minimal spillover, Police Protection, and Traffic/Transportation to levels that are "Less than Significant." I believe that the benefits of the project along with the proposed mitigation measures override the short term noise impact that occurs during the limited number of events at the school.
The DEIR explored alternatives to the project: no project: less seating and capacity; and at an offsite facility, the former Aliso Elementary school facility. I hope that we keep in mind that this Project has no identity and nothing to do with Measure B funding. An offsite proposal defeats the purpose totally as the school would not have an "on campus facility". There would be no home campus athletic facility and they would be playing all athletic contests as they do today, at Trabuco Hills High School. There would be no identity with their school community.
In closure, I sincerely hope that ETHS will be able to experience the same thing that the other three comprehensive high schools have at this time, their own Multi Purpose Use Facility that several of the programs will be able to share and be exposed to each week. In 38 years ETHS has never played a home football game. Their band, drill teams, pep squads, soccer programs, lacrosse, cross country, and track and field have never participated in home athletic facility with seating, etc. to really be exposed to a home environment. Let's take a look at the big picture, do what's best for kids, and, make sure that at ETHS, there is "no child left behind."