Wausau Daily Herald
05/02/2017 - Page A01
Thom Field, fieldhouses could get new video scoreboard
USA TODAY NETWORK-WISCONSIN
WAUSAU - Fans of the Wausau East and West football teams could get an enhanced view of the on-field game action this fall.
Wausau School District officials are proposing the installation of video scoreboards at Thom Field, the facility that the two high schools’ varsity football programs share, as well as at both the Wausau East and Wausau West fieldhouses.
The project, which also includes the installation of LED scoreboards for the gyms and football and soccer fields at Horace Mann and John Muir middle schools, will cost the district an estimated $687,411 to install, but advocates hope the money can be recouped by selling advertisements on the boards to local businesses.
If approved by the School Board, the boards would be installed at Thom Field in time for the start of the football season in the middle of August, and in the two fieldhouses in the fall. The proposal was recommended last month by the School Board’s education/operation committee, and the full School Board will take up the proposal at its May 8 meeting. There will be a public presentation of the plan at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Room 312 at Wausau West for businesses and other interested parties.
"This is another way to promote Wausau Schools as a great place to be and a great environment to come in," Wausau West athletic director Pat Galligan said. "There is no question that we definitely want to market (the district.) This is just another part of that process."
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Wausau East athletic director Greg Harvey said the school district began discussions on the project more than two years ago and sought proposals for making it a reality last year. The proposal calls for the installation of a 32 foot-by-38-foot video display scoreboard at Thom Field, which would replace the current digital only scoreboard situated behind one of the end zones at the field.
A second LED scoreboard, measuring 13 feet by 15.5 feet would be placed at the football field as well.
"I arrived in the district in 1990 and I’m certain the scoreboard (at Thom Field) has been the same one since before then," Harvey said. "It still functions, but we are in more than a need for a serious upgrade there. It’s a matter of necessary upgrades. I know the scoreboard at (the East Fieldhouse) has been there since the school was built (in 2004)," Harvey said. "We see this as a chance to put something up that will greatly enhance our facilities — both high schools and Thom Field."
The two high school fieldhouses would have a main video display and stats board along with a combined four secondary LED scoreboards. There would also be a total of four LED scoreboards for the Horace Mann and John Muir Middle Schools, along with two LED scoreboards for the football/soccer fields. In addition, the middle schools would have the use of two portable LED scoreboards for other field use. There are no current plans to have advertising placards on the middle school scoreboards Plans call for four levels of sponsorship for the scoreboard upgrade and the district hopes to fin! d 20 businesses to be contracted over six years to pay for the upgrade.
The plan calls for four main sponsors which will each pay $15,000 annually over the six years and receive prominent placement on the boards at Thom Field and both the East and West fieldhouses in digital recognition on video displays.
The district would set other sponsorship levels at $8,000 per year or $2,500 per year. The former sponsors would receive signage on the Thom Field scoreboard as well as the two high schools. The latter group would be noted on a sign at Thom Field, placed on the backside wall of the stadium bleachers. The proposal estimates the district would make $122,000 annually in sponsor revenue "It’s a way for us to seek funding without having to raise taxes and way to try and have the athletic budget not impact the academic budget, which it shouldn’t," Galligan said. "It’s an opportunity for advertisers to be involved for really the first time in a lot of our facilities."
Tim Johnson: 715-8450731, or firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @timmyjo11