By Linda Dillman
A new scoreboard for Ranger Stadium at Hamilton Township High School is providing much more than football facts—it also affords the district an opportunity to offer a new curriculum for students.
The Hamilton Local Schools Board of Education approved the purchase of a $484,000 Daktronics scoreboard and related audio and visual equipment during at its June 21 meeting. The cost will be offset by a $30,000 grant and fees paid by companies posting ads and signs on the 25 foot by 14 foot scoreboard.
“We are looking for sponsors,” said Hamilton Schools Treasurer Adam Collier. “…we’re looking at hopefully generating around $90,000 to $100,000 (in sponsorships) a year, which will get the scoreboard paid off in five years. I think we already have nine commitments from companies that want their name on our board.”
Hamilton Schools Superintendent Mark Tyler said the scoreboard and related equipment is guaranteed by the manufacturer for at least 10 years, but the biggest attraction—aside from improved graphics and advanced capabilities—is the ability to incorporate the device into a credentialed pathway to graduation.
“This really is more than a scoreboard and videoboard,” said Mike Morbitzer, the district’s grants/federal programs/standards coordinator. “It’s a giant partnership including Obetz, Fortress Obetz, the Educational Service Center (ESC), Ohio Jobs and Family Services and Apprentice Ohio.”
According to Morbitzer, the district is in discussions with the Ohio Media Center of Columbus to support students by providing instruction and a curriculum in broadcast media and on-air performance.
“What this does further is it creates an opportunity,” said Morbitzer, “a pathway to graduation. The ESC is working with us to get the pre-apprenticeship pathway where students will work in an on-campus lab and then their off-campus experience will be at Fortress Obetz. Obetz has a great calendar of events, but they don’t have the people to run their board. They don’t have the sound people (or) the video people to sustain all of those events. Our students will be doing their field experience in teams and also on our campus working our equipment.”
Hamilton Schools Public Relations Director Kaitlin Duncan said the district is aiming for a fall start for the Media Design, Marketing and Sales curriculum. Initial enrollment is expected to include 20 students and district representatives are working with Daktronics to provide certifications and with the ESC of Central Ohio to create the pre-apprenticeship pathway to graduation.
Had the school board waited to approve the purchase, Morbitzer said they would move down the list of high school installations scheduled by Daktronics to December. By approving the contact in June, Hamilton is first on the list and projected to have the new scoreboard in place in time for the first Ranger home football game on Aug. 21.