When fans arrive at Athens Academy’s Slaughter Field for the first time for football season in August or in the spring of 2018 for soccer, they will notice something different.
Gone is the old scoreboard.
In its place is a larger videoboard, which measures 18x28 feet.
“We are very pleased,” said Athens Academy athletic director Kevin Petroski. “It is really going to change the in-game experience for people that attend games.
“It has been something we have talked about for a while. I am sure every school or every athletic director and every football coach or every coach that has a team feels the same way. They’d love to have a video board like you see in college stadiums. We started exploring different companies and different options. The price and cost come into play with that. Once we realized it was something we could do and with the support and partnership of the people sponsoring the board with advertisements, then it became a reality.”
When they started doing research, they thought about doing a fixed scoreboard with a video option.
“After doing our research, we realized we have many more options with a videoboard that acts as a scoreboard because we can go full screen whenever we want to, which gives us a larger viewing screen,” Petroski said. “That was attractive to us and that is what we ended up moving forward with. We are going to have movie nights out there. We will have things like Xbox tournaments as well. Stuff that will be fun. Even a teacher that wants to show something will have the opportunity as well. The two sports that use the stadium, we think it will be exciting for them to have that additional thing.
“Being in Athens, Ga., our families are exposed to the university and the athletic department’s toys that they have. Now we will have something on a much smaller scale but at least it gives them that feeling of what it feels like to be in those types of facilities.”
Formetco, the company out of Duluth who made the videoboard, provided the school with various logos and graphics to use during games but Petroski said Athens Academy students will have an opportunity to create things as well to enhance the in-game experience.
“A lot of things we are going to focus on is player-type images or profiles up there,” Petroski said. “A lot of it we are learning right now. For me, it is new. For Mike Callinan, our media and tech coordinator, it is something he deals with every day. He was like a kid in a candy store. It has been something he has been wanting for a while. We have had students here that have been heavily involved with our media tech that have wanted this for the 12 years I have been here at Athens Academy. They are glad we continue to advance our opportunities for the kids.”
Petroski said the biggest thing they are excited about is it provides another avenue for students in another way.
“It is an additional art gallery on our campus for our students. While we have 3D and all of the other galleries that we have, this is a digital media graphic design gallery for our students to produce work, whether it be videos, graphics, interviews, etc. It will be an opportunity for them to showcase their work in front of their peers and their parents in a way that our athletic teams do in front of people as well,” Petroski said. “That is what is exciting to me and to the school leadership. Now we are moving in another direction from what many consider to be traditional arts or fine arts. We are able to do something with what is going on now that our kids are so invested and excited about.”