There’s no comparison between the costs, clarity and message potential of the new digital signboard at Atwater High School and the aged device it replaced.
Paul Bristow, an associate principal at Atwater High, said the new signboard will be used to advertise all of the school’s events and accomplishments. It also can promote community events. A computer in Bristow’s office is used to change messages remotely through a wireless connection.
In-service training is planned April 9 to learn how to post messages on the display panel at the corner of Winton Way and Fruitland Avenue at the edge of the Atwater High campus.
“Isn’t that beautiful?” gushed Atwater High Principal Alan Peterson. “It has given the corner of Winton Way and Fruitland Avenue a whole new look. The district’s maintenance staff did a great job installing the sign.”
Bristow said the new signboard, installed a couple of weeks ago, is much more energy-efficient.
“We are still learning about programming it,” he said. “The older version, put in through the booster club, had incandescent light bulbs. At first it looked nice. The new one has color graphics. We have gotten phone calls from the community, and they think it looks nice.”
Mark Gottschall, communications systems manager for the Merced Union High School District, said the digital signboard cost about $17,000. The one it replaced was installed in 1991.
Gottschall said Merced High School has a similar signboard, and he is exploring the possibility of new signboards at Golden Valley and Buhach Colony high schools.
The new signboard runs off a single 12-volt circuit, while the old one had at least 24 electrical circuits. Ron Perez, the district’s director of maintenance and operations, said the new signboard will use a fraction of electricity compared with the old one. A large falcon, the school mascot, will be placed atop the sign and lighting is planned to illuminate the area, he said.
Nathan Braga, the school’s activities director, said the possibilities are endless.
“I love it,” Braga said. “Oh, man, it’s been a long time coming, to show the public what’s going on.”