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Monday December 11th, 2017 6:26AM

Red Elephants might soon get ‘the big picture’

By Marc Eggers Anchor / Reporter

GAINESVILLE – Four giant screen video displays are being considered for use at Bobby Gruhn Field, the main field at Ivey Watson Baseball Complex, the Gainesville High School gym and the GHS girls’ softball field.

As Athletic Director Adam Lindsey and Gainesville Athletic Club Past-President Cooper Embry made their way from the audience to the podium at Monday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Williams said, “A few months ago Mr. Lindsey came to me along with members of the GAC and spoke…about how their focus…may be shifting a little bit from how it’s been historically and focusing on larger projects.”

Their presentation was strictly informational, but it was clearly laying the ground work for a partnership between the GAC and the school system to bring high-tech spectator enjoyment, “…with some of the latest and greatest technology, but at the same time doing it in a way that doesn’t put a major financial burden on the school system,” Williams said.

The display under consideration for Bobby Gruhn Field, according to Lindsey, is 53-feet wide by 29 ½-feet high and would be the largest high school display in the state.

The displays being considered for the baseball and softball fields would be identical at 22’ wide by 12’7” high; the display for the gym would be 11’5” by 6’5”.

Click here for pictures of the proposed scoreboards.

Cost for the project would be about $750,000, according to Lindsey, but he said the partnership with GAC and selling advertising on the scoreboard would make the cost much less for the school system.

Besides static advertisements that could be rotated on a timed cycle, Lindsey said, “Sponsorship-wise (we) could play commercials…something very different than we’ve ever been able to do.”

“The options are endless with what we could do with this,” Lindsey said.  “I see us doing movie nights at Bobby Gruhn Field.”

The arrangement currently under discussion would be for the GAC to split evenly the cost with the school system.

Lindsey said the display is comprised of individual 18”x18” panels that could easily be replaced if one becomes damaged or stops working.

Embry spoke on behalf of the GAC and said regarding the sale of advertising: “We have already met and decided what sponsorship levels we have…the largest being $10,000.  We already have three people committed to that and they haven’t even seen the sign yet.”

“We feel very strongly that raising our portion will be fairly simple along with giving us still a lot of funds to put back into other capital items,” Embry said.

Embry added that the scoreboard would have academic value as well.  He said that students in A/V classes would learn how to program the system, man the cameras and under teacher supervision run the scoreboard on game days.

The students might also engage in marketing the scoreboard.

Dr. Williams added, “We envision it being a part of not only the audio-visual classroom but also the marketing classroom and any other pathway that could help be a part of this.”

The next step in the process, according to Lindsey, is to submit RFPs, or Request for Proposals, and that could begin later this month. 

TWO BOARD MEMBERS SAY ‘GOOD-BYE’

Brett Mercer and Dr. Delores Diaz were feted before the start of tonight’s board meeting; both decided to not seek re-election and tonight was their final meeting.

Mercer ends his time on the board serving his final year as chairman. 

He was elected in 2014, and said he would most like to see in the future something he tried to initiate during his tenure: “I’d love to see us build a second high school.”

“We’re a 6A (school) on the cusp of being 7A,” he explained.  “I’d like to have two schools in the 3 or 4A and then be able to compete with all of the schools in Hall County.”

Dr. Diaz joined the board in 2010 and also served a term as chair. 

“I had retired from teaching,” Dias says of her decision to run for a seat on the board, “and teachers never die, and I really wanted to be involved in education still, and I thought it would be an opportunity to make a difference.”

“There have been challenges along the way but the rewards far outweigh the challenges, and it’s been worth every minute of it.” 

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Red Elephants might soon get ‘the big picture’
Four giant screen video displays are being considered for use at Bobby Gruhn Field, the main field at Ivey Watson Baseball Complex, the Gainesville High School gym and the GHS girls’ softball field.
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