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City Council sees the light at Hutchison

Memphis Business Journal
Michelle Corbet

Dozens of Hutchison School students recently lobbied the Memphis City Council to approve four 70-foot outdoor lights on the school's lacrosse/soccer field.
At its April 19 meeting, City Council members unanimously approved the lights — despite opposition from some residents in the abutting Kirby Woods subdivision who had concerns about added noise, light and traffic.
Councilman Frank Colvett, whose district includes Hutchison, said he was in favor of the lights but urged the school to have better relations with the neighboring Kirby Woods subdivision.
“I strongly encourage you to get with your neighbor because there is a riff growing here,” Colvett said.
Brett Grinder, vice president of Grinder, Taber & Grinder Inc. and a member of the Board of Trustees of Memphis University School (MUS), said the lack of lights is a disparity issue between what is available to the boys at MUS and the girls at Hutchison.
“Fair is fair. Harding has lights; Lausanne has lights; MUS has lights. Why not Hutchison?” said Colvett.
When Hutchison went before the Land Use Control Board in February, the school said it needed the lights in order to stay competitive in the local private school market. According to MBJ research, enrollment at local private schools has dropped more than 10 percent in the last eight years, and many schools are investing in athletics and early childhood programs to turn the tide.
Councilman Bill Morrison said he hopes the lights encourage admissions interest and growth in Hutchison’s enrollment.