Columbia, SC (WLTX) - New tennis courts and a multi-purpose field may be coming to Dreher High School, but the plan has been met with pushback from some residents in the neighborhood.
Columbia City Council also needs to approve a rezoning measure that would allow the new athletic facilities.
Council approved the first of two readings Tuesday night.
Mayor Steven Benjamin said he hopes this decision will encourage both sides to create a compromise and present it to Council before the final vote on April 17.
"This first reading is just that, the first reading. We've got some serious ground to cover between now and April 17," Mayor Benjamin said.
Steven Austermiller's daughter Sophia will eventually attend Dreher and already uses the current facilities.
"Dreher does not have tennis courts that can be used for the tennis team. They have to go to public courts, rent them and hold their matches miles away and hope that they don't get bumped by the leagues,” he said.
"If we're not there or it gets too late, we have to forfeit, which I don't think is fair," Sophia said.
Donald Tudor said the project will be in his backyard. He said he doesn't want students to have to travel for practice, but is against competition on site.
"When you do competition, you have to do bleachers, you have to have concession stands, you have to have bathrooms and we believe that you probably have to have lights," he said.
Richland One Superintendent Craig Witherspoon said there will not be a lot of pollution from the lights planned at the tennis courts and the new field will not be used for varsity football games.
"It is a practice field that will probably be used for some JV games. Maybe some soccer and also lacrosse, but again that can be accommodated with what we are proposing and we don't see a lot of traffic or anything with those particular sports," he said.
The vote passed unanimously. Councilwoman Devine recused herself from voting because she does legal work for the school.