(Kilgore News Herald (TX) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 29--After hiring a company to inspect R.E. St. John Stadium--the goal is to improve it and make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act--the Kilgore ISD Board of Trustees and athletic director Mike Wood discussed the contract and a new scoreboard for the stadium.
Originally the company -- Irving-based Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. -- sent a proposal of $26,300 for the inspection, but Assistant Superintendent of Finance Revard Pfeffer said he was able to talk them down to $14,800, including the rental of a Snorkel lift.
Although KISD was negotiating the contract, both KISD and Kilgore College have a share of the stadium. Neither KISD Superintendent Cara Cooke nor KC President Bill Holda felt comfortable with the original price because other enti- ties that had similar inspections performed said it should cost between $10,000 and $15,000.
An additional $1,500 for the lift will be taken out of the inspection price, taking it to the high $13,000 range. Instead of having the company bring in a lift to inspect the press box, Pfeffer said the district could rent it locally for a week for less than $1,500. While KISD has access to the lift, Pfeffer said the district could do other projects, as well.
Snorkel has a variety of lift styles, including ones sometimes referred to as "cherry pickers" and platform lifts.
"I think we can feel comfortable moving forward," Cooke said about the negotiated price and the experience of the company.
Out of the original price, Pfeffer was able to take out money regarding the scoreboard, light pole inspections and the length of the inspection.
Although the KISD and KC are in favor of another scoreboard, Pfeffer said they cut out the inspection of the scoreboard -- and $1,500 -- because it was not a public safety issue.
Pfeffer was also able to negotiate the light pole inspections down to $500 from $3,500. The decrease comes from having a visual inspection in this round to look for any cracks or corrosion in the poles. If any issues are found, further inspection would be discussed at that point and included in a second phase.
Instead of two days to do the inspection, with taking out some aspects of the inspection, Pfeffer and the company agreed the inspection could be completed in one day.
"The main thing is to find out if it's safe," Board President Terry George said after Pfeffer told the board the company thought it could get the inspection done fully in one day.
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. has inspected stadiums like Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, in addition to Texas stadiums like Dr. Pepper Arena in Waco.
"He had great things to say about the construction (of the stadium)," Pfeffer said.
With the scoreboard as a topic of discussion outside of the inspection, Cooke invited Wood to explain his ideas about a possible new scoreboard.
Wood's idea for the new scoreboard would feature six static ads and an LED screen. Although the original payment would come from the district, Wood said he wanted to come up with a plan and a marketing plan that would allow the district to pay off the scoreboard in five or six years.
It would be an "impressive scoreboard," but not quite as big as other scoreboards the KISD and KC teams have seen.
The goal of the marketing plan would allow companies to enter into a contract to purchase advertising space for a five-year period for between $7,000 and $9,000 per year. The contract would buy one of the six static spaces for the length of the contract as well as two 30-second ad spots on the screen.
"I think we would end up in a bidding war for those six spots," trustee Scott Montgomery said toward the end of the discussion.
The media department classes could use the scoreboard as a career technical education (CTE) avenue, Wood suggested. The classes could make advertising for companies that do not have ready-made ads. During the games, also, the classes could be in charge of running the cameras and the production.
"I think it's another avenue for some of our students to gain some valuable experience when it comes to video editing and production," he said.
Wood has not asked for any interested sponsors, yet, because he wanted to first make sure it was something the board thought was a possibility, Cooke clarified.
The suggestion of spending money on the new scoreboard comes after applying -- along with Kilgore College -- for a CTE Early College High School planning grant. The grant would provide money to jump-start the school to allow it to open in time for the 2015-2016 school year. For more on the CTE ECHS, look at page 5A.
If the district does not get the grant, though, Cooke has said she plans to continue with the CTE school, but it would start later and the district will have to raise more money to cover what would otherwise be covered by the grant.
"Guys, I think we need to look at our priorities," Board Secretary Jimmy Kinsey said with two competing highdollar projects for consideration.
Although Kinsey agreed the scoreboard would be a nice addition to the stadium, he said the district will have to choose to move forward with either the scoreboard or the high school at this time. The other will have to be pushed back to a later time.
Cooke suggested the board and Wood seek out any interested advertisers before the next board meeting April 28. By that time, Cooke said she should know if the district and KC had been awarded the grant and what work needs to be done on the stadium, so the board could look forward with a more exact estimation of all costs and interest.
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