Gainesville High School is looking to upgrade its athletic facilities across the school and those upgrades will come with one very visible change: scoreboards. The upgrades would start with a large video scoreboard at Bobby Gruhn Field, with hopes of having it completed by the time graduation rolls around in May.
On Tuesday, the Gainesville City School System Board of Education voted in favor of proceeding with the $808,825 project to be split between the school system and the Gainesville Athletic Club, the school’s external booster club. If the financial structure with the GAC is finalized and then approved by the board, each will be paying $68,378.07, including interest, annually for seven years.
“The No. 1 thing that’s important to me is that we’re not adding any cost to the school system’s budget,” said Jeremy Williams, Gainesville City School System superintendent.
In addition to Bobby Gruhn Field, the other upgrades include scoreboards for the softball field, the Ivey-Watson Baseball Complex and two for the Gainesville High gym. They would be completed throughout the summer.
Adam Lindsey, Gainesville’s athletic director, said the need for the upgrades stems from the need to stay current as technology in schools advances.
At the meeting, board Chairman John Filson brought up the importance of those advances in the school that can also be carried outside of the school with the addition of new scoreboards. Williams said new, digitized scoreboards are a way to increase student support for athletics.
“It’s truly working with the (audio/visual) classes at the high school who may have an interest in athletics but from a behind-the-scenes standpoint,” Williams said.
Sammy Smith, the board treasurer, was also interested in the revenue possibilities with the new scoreboards. Williams said there are more options for advertisements during games and partnerships with colleges for graduation, both of which could bring in additional revenue for the school.
At the end of the day, the board voted in favor of finalizing a financial structure to pay for the scoreboards, to be built by Formetco, a company out of Duluth that specializes in billboards.
“We want to do it to raise the bar,” Williams said. “We expect a lot out of our programs, and we want to make sure that everything we’re putting around our kids shows them how much we expect them to raise that bar.”