A new video scoreboard proposed for Adkins Stadium could give Jefferson City Public Schools students real-world experience with digital broadcast and marketing skills, but the exact specifications of any board will depend on how much advertising money JCPS can secure in the next three months.
Former co-interim JCPS activities director Dennis Licklider told the district's Board of Education on Monday about a proposal to equip Adkins Stadium with a "state-of-the-art video board" for football games, along with new video and other scoreboards for the main and auxiliary gyms at Capital City High School and Jefferson City High School.
CCHS is currently under construction. Though the district's second high school is planned to be open for students in fall 2019, its main and practice gyms aren't anticipated to be completed, along with other features of the building, until January 2020.
Renovations at JCHS also include the addition of an auxiliary gym and are expected to finish at the same time.
Along with himself, Licklider said district Activities Director Ehren Earleywine, JCHS Activities Director Chad Rizner and CCHS Activities Director Robert Ndessokia did much of the work on the scoreboard proposal.
It makes sense now to replace the scoreboard at Adkins Stadium — where CCHS also will play football for a few years — because, while the existing board works fine, there may soon not be parts to repair it, Licklider said.
He said it makes sense to replace it now, "at a time when we've been able to shop and compare products, rather than a time when the scoreboard goes out, and now we've got an emergency mode to replace it, most likely with an inferior product."
The board voted unanimously Monday to approve South Dakota-based Daktronics as a vendor for new scoreboards. The vote does not commit the district to any specific purchases.
JCPS Chief Financial and Operating Officer Jason Hoffman said Friday: "We will bring the whole package back to the board after we market the advertising and ask them to approve the entire purchase at once," probably late this fall or early winter.
"The whole package" Hoffman referred to has two parts:
For Adkins Stadium: a new 18-by-32-foot LED video scoreboard to replace the existing scoreboard, a new sound system, a new scoreboard mounted on the press box the audience for a visiting team can see from their seats, and new 25-second clocks with game times to replace the existing clocks.
For the gyms at CCHS and JCHS: new video scoreboards at both main gyms, game scoreboards for CCHS (JCHS got new ones recently), two new scoreboards for each school's auxiliary gym, and miscellaneous other items for each gym.
JCPS Superintendent Larry Linthacum said there would not be any football scoreboard at CCHS's practice field.
Each half of the package of new scoreboards would be paid for in different ways.
"The plan would be that all of the cost of the high school board plus the parts and labor, everything at Adkins Stadium would be paid for by advertising dollars," Hoffman said.
A deal with Daktronics includes the services of a marketing specialist who works for the company, comes in and "helps us put together a marketing plan that helps us sell advertising on this board," he said
Over the next three months, the district will sell five years' worth of ads that would run on a new scoreboard, Hoffman said, "and if we sell enough ads to get what we've wanted here, then we'll come back to you and say 'here's what we've sold in ads, here's what it's going to cost' and ask you to approve the actual purchase at that time."
If the district doesn't sell enough ads to cover the specifications they want for the scoreboard, Hoffman continued, "then we'll scale it back to something we can sell enough advertising for," through steps such as shrinking the size of the board or reducing its video quality.
The equipment for the high schools' gyms would be covered by the furniture, fixture and equipment budget within the bond issue paying for the construction of CCHS and the renovation of JCHS, he said.
The furniture, fixture and equipment budget is part of the larger category of "other costs" for the two high school projects. As of last month, the cost estimate for the overall budget category had been reduced from an original $30 million to $13.9 million.
The overall cost of building CCHS and renovating JCHS was estimated last month at approximately $140.5 million — which Hoffman considered to be $1 million under budget because the total included a greenway extension near CCHS, the construction of a street adjacent to CCHS that would be reimbursed by the city, and re-turfing of the field at Adkins Stadium next summer.
"Nothing is final, as there are a number of pricing options that will be considered, since we do not know how much money is available until after we market the advertising," Hoffman said of cost estimates for the new scoreboards at Adkins and the high schools' gyms. "The intent is for the advertising to cover at least the cost of the football boards, and we think we will have more to supplement athletic programs," he added.
"We'll be able to put commercials that will run at different parts of games. This will be a much more attractive ad buy, a much more expensive ad buy," he told the board, adding the non-video ads on the field now will run out in two seasons.
A Daktronics sales representative in the room, Bryan Nagel, told the board: "We've done boards like this at 40 high schools in Missouri, and every one of them was paid by advertising."
Licklider said Daktronics is the largest supplier of large scoreboards in the world. Illinois-based competitor Nevco also has a presence in Missouri, and he said the JCPS team met several times with both companies to hear about their products, graphics, warranties, service, marketing plans and installation — and to visit two other high schools, one which has a new Daktronics board and another which has a new Nevco board.
"Daktronics can get us pricing on similar products that Nevco provided, but our team does not feel that we would be happy with the lesser quality and size," Hoffman wrote in the information packet for the board.
The plan would be to have scoreboards installed at JCPS in summer 2019. What would be on the video scoreboard screen at Adkins Stadium could be adjusted to reflect the colors and mascot of CCHS — royal blue and silver Cavaliers — and different statistics for different sports such as track and soccer, Hoffman added.
The final price would include five years of parts and labor and in-person repair service, he said.