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By Carmen Ensinger
Carrollton Interim Superintendent Les Stevens brought up something that was sure to be of interest to at least some of the members of the Carrollton School Board at the Jan. 29 school board meeting, given that Carrollton is such a sports oriented district.
Stevens presented information on video scoreboards for the high school gym.
“I’m not asking for board approval for anything tonight because what information I have is spotty and not all that great,” Stevens said. “But I brought this up to our Athletic Director, Greg Pohlman after seeing the big board they have at Winchester and mentioned how nice it would be to have one of these at Carrollton.”
Stevens proceeded to do a little research and found out that Bluffs recently installed one as well, a newer model. Theirs was purchased through a company called Daxtronics. He called the company and they came down from South Dakota and talked about their boards, all of which are video-based.
“First, let me say that I will only ask the board to approve something like this if it can be a money maker for the district,” Stevens said. “It is pretty amazing what they are able to do with these video boards. Several schools have these kinds of boards. This company provides the boards to 70 percent of the colleges and 80 percent of the pro teams. The board at Busch Stadium is their board.”
The idea is that the board would be paid for through advertisements flashed on the board, like the board in Winchester was paid for. However, their board was not purchased by the school district. It was purchased by the Booster Club in 2016 at a cost of around $33,000.
“They were able to pay off their board in like four months by selling advertising packages,” Stevens said. “What really helped them pay it off so fast was they sold lifetime advertising packages for like $5,000. That helped them pay it off really fast.”
However, the board that Stevens is looking at does more than Winchester’s does. This board is also a board. This board would also be a scoreboard and have the capability of hooking in a sound system and be able to show videos.
“I see a lot of educational learning opportunities involved in the purchase of one of these video boards,” Stevens said. “If they are trying to learn something new in PE class, the teacher can pull up a YouTube video on it. Or, they can show a movie on it – the possibilities are endless.”
Carrollton approved a new sports management class for next year and Stevens sees this board being able to give students a leg-up in some sports related career.
“These boards don’t run themselves and if we can get those kids interested in running these boards, that is going to possibly help them in a future career,” Stevens said. “There are a lot of jobs for people who know how to run this software. A St. Louis area high school had one of their kids running the scoreboard at Busch Stadium during a Cardinal game. If we could give a kid a leg up on the competition finding a job like that then I think we would be doing a good service.”
Stevens handed out photos of what Daktronics had quoted for the district. This included a main board that would go on the wall over by the gym. This board would be 6.83 foot high by 11.75 foot wide with a sponsor panel 2 foot high by 11.75 side at the bottom.
The other side of the gym would have a smaller 4 foot high by 10 foot wide LED scoreboard and a 2 foot high by 10 foot high sponsor panel on the bottom.
The board costs $72,732, but with all of the extras added in, such as software packages, etcetera, they bring the total cost to $97,009.
“I think that is a little cost prohibitive,” Stevens said. “Given all the benefits, I think the most important thing is the fact that we would only do this if we can make money for the district from it. The money to pay for it would come from outside advertisers. But the educational benefits from it are beyond measure.”
Stevens said the only thing he was asking for from the board was permission to dig a little deeper and perhaps find more options, which the board granted him.