School will buy $137,000 scoreboard

At this week’s meeting of the Clinton School Board, board members voted to upgrade the Tornado Dome with a $137,000 center-hung video display scoreboard. The winning bid came from a company called Fair-Play out of Des Moines, Iowa, and Superintendent Kevin Hime said he expects the new scoreboard to be installed sometime around Nov. 1. 
“It would be nice if we could have it before the end of volleyball season, but the company gives a conservative estimate of 60-75 days so we probably won’t. It’s not the kind of thing they keep in stock, so once we sign the contract this week they’ll start manufacturing it.” 
He said the new, state-of-the-art scoreboard will basically be the same as the one in the Oklahoma State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City. 
The approximate dimensions of each panel on the four-sided scoreboard are 6 feet high by 10 feet wide. It uses LED lighting, which remains bright and lasts many years longer than conventional lighting, and it can be raised and lowered with a winch. The new scoreboard will also be wi-fi-capable, and Hime said it could be used to show Tornado TV videos if it was so chosen. 
Board members discussed the benefits of purchasing the scoreboard weighed against the practicality of such a large expenditure. 
“When we first started talking about this I thought (the cost) was a large chunk of change,” said board member Kim Meacham. “But the Dome will be there for many years to come, and it’s iconic, so spending some money to upgrade actually sounds like a good idea.” 
Hime explained to the board that video display scoreboard prices begin at $100,000 and go up from there. He’d looked at models that were a few feet larger than the one settled on, but the price points jumped to $170,000 to $180,000 for larger screens. He felt this was the best available for the price. 
“Everybody in our conference that we play against has a newer gym than we do. Ours was built in the 1960s so it’s at least 50 years old, but with the Dome being the facility that it is I think we’re going to be able to use it another 50 years. 
“The Dome is in great shape. But we do need to spend some money to upgrade our sports facilities, and if we were building a new gym the expectation would be that you put the best scoreboard in it that you can get.”
Before this week’s board meeting, Meacham had done some research into the upkeep costs of the particular scoreboard under consideration. She said she was satisfied that maintenance would be relatively easy, since video display scoreboards made by Fair-Play apparently have a reputation for ease of maintenance. 
In a follow-up phone conversation with Hime after the board meeting, he said the scoreboard will be purchased with funds from the district’s building account, which is currently around $800,000. 
“We’ll continue adding to the building fund, but on a regular basis we try to make a purchase that’s going to make a major difference. Last year we built the new parking lot at the middle school, which was about $130,000 by the time we purchased the land, put in drainage and things like that and then paved it. 
“That was a great upgrade, because that’s basically a lifetime improvement. This year our commitment will be to upgrading our sports facilities with a new scoreboard, and next year we’ll find another project.”

Clinton Daily News

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