LAURINBURG — Just in time for football season, Friday night lights at Pate Stadium could get much brighter.
Scotland High School is on the verge of acquiring a new video scoreboard for its football program that will enhance the gameday atmosphere and serve as a unique advertising tool for local businesses, according to a Wednesday statement by the Scotland County Athletic Booster Club.
“I think it’s just going to create a new level of excitement at our games, and we’ll have unprecedented advertising opportunities for local businesses here,” said Scotland athletic director Richard Bailey. “It’s one thing to put a little ad in the back of a program or a sign out there where nobody sees it, and it’s another thing to put it up there by the bright lights and actually have a commercial.”
Pending approval by the Scotland County Board of Education, the videoboard is scheduled to be completed before the start of the fall sports season. Though the videoboard is funded by the booster club, the school system has final say on where monies raised by the club will be spent.
Boosters will pitch the videoboard to the Board of Education’s Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday at 5 p.m. A vote on the project would come at the board’s next regular meeting, set for 6 p.m. on July 13.
“The funds that this scoreboard will generate annually will help to fund projects at both the high school as well as at our middle schools,” said Cory Satterfield, assistant superintendent for human resources.
“Our most immediate plan is to use some of the funding generated to bring additional programs to our middle schools and to provide additional funding for some of our non-revenue sports. Knowing that students that are involved in athletics have academic, attendance, and behavior expectations to meet, we know that providing more of these opportunities will keep more kids in school, help encourage them to keep their grades up, and their behavior on track.”
Booster club president Scott Cole said local businesses and the community have pledged more than $250,000 to the project, which he said is more than enough to fund the building of the videoboard. He would not say how much the videoboard will cost.
Cole touted the videoboard’s ability to help fund Bailey’s top projects, including building on-campus tennis courts, installing a new gymnasium floor, creating practice infields for the ninth-grade baseball and softball teams and a placing a new walking track around the soccer facilities, which would also make the fields more accessible for emergency vehicles.
“This is really an opportunity for (donors) to have real live video advertising at a football game, not to mention the fact the ability for us to have graphics, logos, stats, players of the week, plays of the week, show the football team live running out of the tunnel … we already have a great atmosphere, but it will be an atmosphere second to none,” Bailey said.
Only one other North Carolina high school can lay claim to a similar videoboard — Mallard Creek in Charlotte. The Mavericks began construction on it earlier this offseason.
Cole said the plan is to have Scotland’s videoboard, which will be 18- by 13-feet tall, completed by the first home football game on Aug. 21. Scotland hosts South View in the opener, then travels to Independence and Marlboro in consecutive weeks before returning home on Sept. 11 to play Jack Britt.
“The scoreboard could not only be used for athletic events — the students and community use Pate Stadium quite a bit for things like graduation, band competitions, Relay for Life, and the Fourth of July celebration,” he said. “The scoreboard could be used to really enhance those events. This truly is a win-win for all involved.”
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.