The Phoenix Reporter and Item (http://www.phoenixvillenews.com)

Spring-Ford School Board delays voting on gym video board


By Frank Otto, fotto@pottsmerc.com

Thursday, February 7, 2013

ROYERSFORD — Unsure of the exact capabilities of a proposed video board that would be installed in the high school gym, the Spring-Ford Area School Board delayed its approval at their last public meeting.
The proposed $30,000, 6-foot-by-10-foot “video display board” would be a part of the main gym and utilized as part of Spring-Ford’s efforts for outside advertisements. Informational items pertaining to the district would also be shown on the board.
“This is one of those things that once it’s up, it’s up,” said board President Tom DiBello at a Jan. 28 meeting. “I don’t want to end up with a board just throwing verbage. That’s not advertising.”
Concerns from board members were centered on what exactly the video board’s capabilities would be and whether those capabilities would meet the needs for advertising that local businesses would want.
“Is purchasing the board the right move at this point? Or are we better off just leasing the board?” DiBello said. “Or are there other options ... are there different ways we can advertise?”
DiBello emphasized being able to provide businesses with “commercial-grade” advertising opportunities that people will notice.
The board unanimously voted to table the motion for approval, which will likely appear on the board’s agenda for February’s meeting.
Spring-Ford’s director of technology, Steve Reynolds, had not seen the specifications of the board as of Jan. 28’s meeting.
“Technology must understand what this board does, what the capability of the board is,” School Board Vice President Joe Ciresi said. “I’d like the head of the technology department to tell us what this is capable of, what it can do and maybe then a demonstration on however we move forward.”
Mark Dehnert, a board member also concerned with the quality of the video board, suggested tabling the measure approving the installment of the board until more could be found out about it.
“The seasons are almost over for the sports that use that gym,” he said.
Board member Edward Dressler said he would like to see commitments to advertising on the board before it’s installed as a form of paying for it, saying it was “backwards” to get the board first.
Funding for the board would come through the district’s capital reserve account. Superintendent David Goodin said the district received a grant from Lifetouch, the portrait company, of $60,000 spread over three years that will foot the bill for the video board.
The grant also already funded the new sign outside the high school.
Goodin introduced categorized advertising opportunities for local business sponsors at a board meeting in November. Among those opportunities was an option of advertising in the high school gym which would cost $850 if it were taken as an “a la carte” option.
It is unclear if that would include video board advertising or if a new option would be created for that.
Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.