Burnsville High School will be the latest metro-area school to install a video display scoreboard, a move they say will allow them to host more sporting events, bring in sponsorship dollars and let kids learn about video production.
Prior Lake High School will soon have a similar scoreboard, and Wayzata and Eden Prairie have also added them in the past two years. Burnsville's will be comparable in size.
If all goes as planned, the 25-foot-by-13.5-foot video display and sound system will be added above the existing scoreboard at Bob Pates Stadium/Dick Hanson Field, making the whole scoreboard 20 feet taller. There will be backlit panels on the sides -- two larger panels and 10 smaller ones -- where sponsors' logos will be featured. Video ads can also be shown on screen.
"We're pretty early in the process here," said Jeff Marshall, athletic and activities director. "We're crossing all of our t's and dotting all of our i's."
Ideally, the video display will be installed by or during the fall sports season, but that depends on how quickly financing decisions and sponsorship contracts move along, he said.
The scoreboard's cost will be in the $300,000 range, but who will pay for it is still being decided. It will eventually be paid off and bring in additional money through sponsorship dollars, he said.
"You know, we're in a different world now," he said. "Unfortunately, districts everywhere just can't fund athletics the way athletics do need to be funded, so we need to come up with different and creative ways to generate revenue."
In addition, it is hoped that the high-tech scoreboard and the stadium's prime location will entice more out-of-town teams to hold events there. Another "huge component" will be the chance for kids to learn about video production, he said.
The city of Burnsvillle approved a sign variance in mid-April to allow the school to have the sign in that location, a process Marshall said went smoothly.
Marshall calls the scoreboard an "enhancement to our programs" that will highlight different student groups and be used at big events like graduation.
"One of the best parts about it is ... every kid who goes to school here is going to have his or her face up on that screen," he said. "Which is a pretty neat thing, and a pretty exciting thing."