Lake Washington School Board approves Eastlake scoreboard

July 3, 2013

By Ari Cetron

Sports fans at Eastlake High School will get to spend the next 10 years checking out a high-tech scoreboard, and an ad for Evergreen Ford.

The Lake Washington School Board June 24 unanimously approved allowing the scoreboard, after giving it a lukewarm reception June 3. The board also decided it needed to tackle the issue of advertising and find better ways to hear about upcoming proposals.

Board President Jackie Pendergrass maintained that she still didn’t understand the value of having such a scoreboard at a high school, but still voted to approve the project.

“I’m not going to stamp off in a corner … I just think its beyond what our schools need to have in our facilities,” she said.

Board member Chris Carlson said he’d had questions at the first presentation, but they’d all been answered to his satisfaction.

The $168,000 scoreboard will be privately funded. Evergreen Ford will pay $65,000 to help fund it. In exchange, the car dealership will have a banner ad running across the scoreboard when it’s turned on. The balance will come from donations from various community groups and Eastlake booster clubs.

The school will own the scoreboard and be responsible for maintaining it.

The funds will come from Eastlake’s stadium maintenance budget. Anything above that budget will be funded by the boosters, said district Superintendent Traci Pierce.

The scoreboard will only be used during after-school, voluntary activities. As a result, the advertising will not be visible during school hours.

During the board’s public comment period of the meeting, Eastlake Athletic Director Pat Bangasser pointed out that the current scoreboard is about 20 years old. It still uses incandescent light bulbs, which are getting increasingly hard to find.

Bangasser said that there will not be video replays during the games. However, there will be a chance for public announcements to publicize some other school activities, such as drama productions. Bangasser would have to approve the spots before they were shown to the broader audience.

“This is a chance to promote our schools,” he said.


Larger issues

The scoreboard project highlighted other issues, noted several board members.

The project has been in the works for several years, but the first many board members heard of it was at the June 3 meeting.

Carlson said there should be a better way of talking with the board earlier in a project life, so they can get better feedback on the front end. He feared people spending years worth of time and money only to be rejected by the board.

Pendergrass noted that the school district should develop a policy on advertising. Other businesses might notice the Evergreen ad and want to put up ads of their own, she noted. Or businesses might want to engage in similar projects at other schools. She said the district should have formal guidelines for how to handle such requests.

Pierce agreed and said district officials will begin work on them.

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