The Barr-Reeve High School gymnasium has a new high tech addition. The school has now installed a large electronic message board in a corner of the gym. The addition of the 4’ by 6.5’ LCD display box is the result of some out of the box thinking by Barr-Reeve Athletic Director Aaron Ash.
“We were wanting to add some advertising to help fund our athletic program, but our gym is not set up to hang a lot of banners,” said Ash. “We didn’t want to put stuff up everywhere and then I saw one of these message boards at another school.”
The boards are already up in gyms at Vincennes Lincoln, White River Valley and Clay City. “I talked with a representative of Slam Dunk Sports Marketing in Ohio, and decided it would provide us a unique opportunity to help fund the athletic department and let our community businesses get involved,” said Ash.
Getting the company on board with the idea of putting one of the boards at Barr-Reeve took a little persuading. “When I first started talking with the company and explained where we were they questioned whether we could generate enough interest to support it,” said Ash. “Normally, they do some of the sales, but I told them we would do it on our own.”
The school sent out letters soliciting advertisers. Before it was even put up, the school had 25 sponsors on board with more to come. The initial response raised more than $17,000, enough to cover the initial cost of the equipment and installation. “We got a really good response from the community,” said Ash. “Now, that it is up and people can see what it is, we expect to get even more interest.”
The board will have a power-point type display that will run short video ads for the sponsors. The school also intends to include some video clips about the students and school. “We think we can do some some really neat things,” said Ash. “This can also tie into the sound system,” said Ash. “We’re going to put together some special clips from our state championship volleyball team to use during volleyball next season. We’re even working on some things we can use when our basketball teams are introduced.”
The board is expected to enhance the game for people who attend the 80 home indoor sports events and more. “We will use it for prom and graduation as well,” said Ash. “It will be a neat addition for the kids, fans, students and athletes.”
It will also help put some money into the athletic department coffers. “From this point forward any ads we sell will go into the athletic department to support our kids and athletes,” said Ash. “Finding the funding to operate the athletic programs just gets harder and harder. Some people think that because our programs have been successful that we are making a lot of money, but that just isn’t the case. The deep runs into the state tournaments can be fun but also costly. This board will provide us with some extra revenue that in some ways will help defray some of the cost of that success.”
The board got its first test before the public on Monday night. “The initial response was good,” said Ash.
It has also caught the attention of school officials. “This is really good for the community,” said school board member Scott Lottes. “It’s a good addition to a fine facility.”
“Our community is really good about supporting the school,” added Superintendent Travis Madison. “This will be a big help for our student-athletes and the department.”
The school system is still looking for more businesses to participate. Any potential sponsors should contact Aaron Ash at the Barr-Reeve High School.