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Eddie's Column

"Berwick's on way to dream scoreboard"
from the Bloomsburg Press Enterprise Tuesday June 6, 2006

by Susan Schwartz

    The Bulldogs are just two sponsors away from getting the scoreboard of their dreams, Superintendent James Kraky said Monday. And the district has four promising leads to fill the void. So far, various companies have promised $44,000 over the next five years, said Dann McGann, school board president, after Monday night's work session. Another $43,300 is coming from proceeds from a contract the district has with Pepsi. Some sponsors have pledged $10,000 over the next five years.

With two more commitments like that, the district would have about $107,000. That would be more than enough to cover the $60,000 scoreboard plus the $43,000 on the mortgage for the new fieldhouse, according to district documents. If everything goes as planned, Crispin Field will have a 27-foot-long, computer controlled board with a three-line message board. The district would borrow some of the money and pay it off over the next five years as revenue from the sponsors and Pepsi comes in. Directors are scheduled to vote next week on whether to order the new board. But before that, Director Becky Heller had some questions.

She wanted to know about any indirect costs, such as preparing the ground or the board's wiring. "Mr. (Tim) Honeywell (the athletic director) promised us that before the vote," she said. Heller said she was also concerned that one of the potential sponsors, Geisinger HealthSouth, might decide to pull out of the five-year sponsorship if it doesn't continue winning contracts to be the district's athletic trainer. Directors are scheduled to vote on a three-year, $31,505 contract for the job next week. Geisinger was the only bidder, Kraky said.

Berwick could make the company sign a five-year agreement for the scoreboard regardless of how long it holds the athletic trainer contract, he said. They're two separate deals. The district has been very satisfied with the service Geisinger has given, he added. The cost isn't increasing, and this year the health company is providing free First Aid and CPR training for district staff in addition to its other services, he said. Heller also worried about what would happen if the district agrees to buy the board and then the state refuses to allow the school to borrow the money. But Business Manager Christina Martz said she's never heard of the state turning down a request involving an improvement. And Director Bryan Carlin said the contract could be written so that it is contingent on the district getting the loan.

Resident Donna Folk still wasn't convinced. "If you don't get (the sponsors), will you consider getting a scoreboard at a lower price?" she asked. Kraky told her he was sure there would be enough sponsors. The old scoreboard is about 30 years old and could break down any time, directors were told last September.


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