BASEBALL AND SCOREBOARD
Although we still have considerable snow on the ground and continue to get winter storm warnings, there are a couple “warmer weather” issues I would like to cover this week. Both issues are unfolding this spring through organizations that are “outside” the school district, but both have received support from the district.
Earlier this year, we were informed that the electronic scoreboard at the William J. Virant Athletic Complex on the football field is nearing the end of its serviceable life! We can no longer get “new” replacement parts for the scoreboard and the options for getting used parts are diminishing. As such, we are in need of taking action to replace the scoreboard.
As we have talked about this issue, there were several options for the district. We could simply keep going until there are no more replacement parts; we could begin looking at district replacement options, or we could examine outside options related to replacement.
The issue has been shared within the district to consider ideas to fund the replacement project. As options were considered, the district was approached by members of the ROCORI Spartan Booster Club. The Booster Club had a different idea for our consideration.
The Booster Club asked if they could assume the scoreboard replacement project but also secure permission from the board to oversee advertising and/or sponsorship rights. The idea behind the concept was to help stabilize a revenue stream for the Booster Club, shift the responsibility for the scoreboard to the Booster Club, and develop a sponsorship program to minimize other “fundraiser” efforts.
As the district heard the proposal, it seemed to make a great deal of sense. The funds raised by the Booster Club, through its history and by-laws, come back to the district to support activities. The Booster Club has no other authority for expenditures except to support athletic activities within the district.
The Booster Club was willing, in order to generate a stable revenue stream, to take on the tasks and responsibilities related to developing a sponsorship program. This means working on the advertising concepts, connecting with business sponsors, and conducting all of the issues related to the program. And, from district perspective, the funds come back to our activities.
The Booster Club has been working with Activities Director Joel Baumgarten to identify the specific scoreboard to purchase. Based on the sponsorship program, the scoreboard will also support a limited number of advertising spaces. These spaces will become the primary source of sponsorship revenue and the primary advertising for the business. There will be other benefits and promotional efforts related to sponsorship but the prime location on the scoreboard will be central to the project.
The expectation, assuming winter ever comes to an end, is that a new scoreboard can be secured and installed before the end of the school year. It will be a scoreboard with a football focus, but will also be of a style that can be used for multiple purposes including track and other events.
A Fields of Dreams flyer has been distributed across the district by the Cold Spring Area Youth Sports Association (CSAYSA). The flyer outlines a great deal of information related to a cooperative venture between CSAYSA and the School District.
About two years ago, the CSAYSA organization approached the ROCORI School Board with a concept to improve the baseball and softball fields/complex on the district campus. The District, in the concept, would not have specific financial obligations but would work with CSAYSA in developing the complex.
New fields would be developed on the north part of the district campus. In addition, existing fields would be improved in any number of ways—improved outfield, improved infield, additional fencing, field work, lights, irrigation, and other improvements. There would also be expanded parking and walking areas throughout the complex as well as concessions areas.
The work will be accomplished in phases. Immediate improvements would be intended to allow more use of the areas and be designed in a way to allow more youth tournaments to be hosted at the sites. As funding is secured, other improvements would be put in place.
Because the arrangements are collaborative efforts between a non-profit organization and a school district, there have been fairly extensive discussions about legal ramifications and expectations. The collaborative agreement is very nearly finished but both the district and CSAYSA feel quite confident that it will be beneficial to both organizations.
If things fall into place the way they are expected, the community should begin to see field improvements yet in 2014. The goal would be to improve fields on the east end of the complex shortly after the summer season is complete and before the fall yields to winter.
In the end, the estimated project is about $1.5 million. The district is not expected to pay for any of the improvements, but the CSAYSA is given authority to oversee the spaces for activity and tournament purposes during the summer months.
This is an exciting project for both entities! It will provide improved fields and activity spaces while offering the youth organization the ability to host tournaments, bring added programs to the community, and expand opportunities for students!