The state’s largest high school scoreboard video display will soon cast its long glow over Gainesville High’s Bobby Gruhn Field, home of the Red Elephants.
Some work remains to connect the scoreboard with utilities and the press box, but the 52-foot-wide, 31-foot-high scoreboard stands tall now, visible from Riverside Drive, a new landmark for City Park Stadium.
The mega-screen reflects the school’s “commitment to continually improve our facilities,” Athletic Director Adam Lindsey said.
It’s also a commitment to the community.
The scoreboard could serve many purposes, from spot advertising, full-service commercials and other sponsorships to public movie screenings.
And operating the scoreboard will serve as a real-world learning environment for students interested in video broadcasting.
They will learn how to program the system, produce content, man the cameras and run the scoreboard on game days.
Of course, it will enhance the in-game experience of attendees at Gainesville High games — by providing in-game replays, for example — as well as middle school and recreational level sports contests.
“Your limit is your imagination,” Lindsey said.
Gainesville High football coach Heath Webb said the new scoreboard shows the sense of pride the city has in its students, its school teams and its public facilities.
“Our players see a special program because of the community and its support,” he added.
The Gainesville Athletic Club partnered with the city school system to install the scoreboard as part of a broader initiative to also modernize video displays at the Gainesville High gym and softball field, and at the main field at Ivey-Watson Baseball Complex.
The $808,825 project will cost the Gainesville school system and the booster club almost $68,380 each, including interest, annually for seven years.
The scoreboard at the gym is already installed, while work at the softball field has just started and the baseball field will be completed sometime this summer.
Kris Nordholz, president of the GAC, said he is excited about the financial opportunities the scoreboard could create for school teams.
“The whole purpose (of GAC) is to raise money for student-athletes,” Nordholz said, adding that the club pays for things like jerseys and equipment for teams. “This project is going to help us increase visibility for sponsors and ultimately raise more money that’s going to go back to support our student-athletes.”