College Rezoning Approved

By Suzanne Curtiss ’14

Erran Briggs ’14 speaks about the stadium lighting improvements.

After three-and-half hours and 48 college and neighborhood speakers, the Kalamazoo City Commission approved an amended version of Kalamazoo College’s Institutional Campus (IC) rezoning application at its Monday, June 18, meeting in the City Commission chambers.

With the approved IC zone, the College can now move forward with its 10-year campus plan, including the construction of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership and the installation of stadium lighting at the Angell Field athletic complex. The latter had been a particular point of controversy.  As proposed by Commissioner Bob Cinabro, the stadium lights on the football field will be limited to 20 nights per year and must be turned off no later than 8:30 p.m., instead of 10:30 p.m.

Commissioner Don Cooney deemed the amendment a “reasonable compromise” and commended the College for its efforts in the last month to work closely and considerately with neighbors.

During the 14-month master plan process, K held a total of 21 meetings with neighbors, and on June 14 ceded to neighborhood concerns by excluding the closing of Thompson Street from the plan. Commissioner Barbara Miller, too, acknowledged the compromises of the College. “I think they [Kalamazoo College] have been good neighbors and Kalamazoo is a better place because of them,” said Miller.

Junior football player Erran Briggs ’14 (see photo) spoke of the impact the stadium lights will have on the lives of student athletes.

“We are more than just students,” he said, “Athletics can have as much of an impact on us as academics.”

Kalamazoo College President Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran said she is “very happy about what the decision means for our student athletes” and pledged that she and College staff will work hard to keep lines of communication open with neighbors.