By Matthew Stewart - The Daily Times
Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs going up at William Blount High School. While a Signco Inc. crew replaced Mike White Field's scoreboard on Monday, educators were learning how to operate a new school sign located off William Blount Drive. Both LED (Light Emitting Diode) products replace items that were more than 15 years old. They were acquired at no cost to Blount County Schools or William Blount High.
Crew members deconstructed the Mike White Field's 15-by-8 scoreboard and erected a new 18-by-8 board, said Assistant Principal Justin Ridge, who also serves as athletic director. They expect later this week to bolt a truss on top and weld brackets for a total of 10 advertising panels that will surround the board.
The old scoreboard, which was installed about 2000, burned incandescent lightbulbs that needed to be special ordered. It started to malfunction last year.
"The board was in need of an upgrade," Ridge said. "It started to malfunction at the (Maryville Orthopaedic Clinic Prep Football) Jamboree (on Aug. 15, 2014), then we experienced a number of issues throughout the year."
Officials started the process in March to acquire a new scoreboard, he said. They partnered with Side Effects Inc., which benefits both high schools and local businesses through advertising sponsorships, and received the board at no cost. Side Effects Inc. designed the scoreboard, then communicated sponsors, created custom artwork and received payment for the exclusive, targeted advertising. It later ordered and shipped the board.
The new scoreboard has wireless capability, said Elliott Sheckles, Signco Inc.'s operations manager. A receiver will be located on the board, and a transmitter will be located in the press box. Sideline operators can operate now without cables, Ridge said. "It's an up-to-date system. "We're extremely grateful to Side Effects Inc.," he said. "We couldn't have done this without them, because we don't have the resources or time to do it by ourselves. We're also grateful to all the sponsors who made this possible."
New school sign
Crews also replaced a school sign located off William Blount Drive on Friday, said Assistant Principal Mike Brewer. They installed a full-color messaging center that is 6-foot tall and 7-foot-4-inch wide. It stands more than 15 feet tall. Community members should expect a number of messages related to academic competitions and extracurricular events, Brewer said. He advised that seven messages were displayed hours after training Monday morning.
"It's the first thing that people see, so we wanted something that our community and our school could be proud of," he said. "The old one, which is believed to have been original to the school (when it opened in 1979), had faded letters and a rusty pole. We could only put one announcement on each side. It was time for an upgrade, so (bookkeeper) Kim Wilde and I embarked on a one-year push to raise funds for a new one." Educators located 20 businesses and organizations who donated the sign's $24,840 price tag, Brewer said. They plan to honor these donors before the Sept. 4 football game against Dobyns-Bennett High School.
The administrator wanted to publicly thank donors for their support. "We were only able to accomplish this upgrade due to people stepping up in the community and telling us that they want to help us out."