Several local entities recently came together to fund a noticeable addition to the West Fargo High School gym.
Moore Engineering and First International Bank each donated $25,000 toward a new 8-foot by 9-foot video board, prominently displayed above the south gym entrance. The Packer Backers also contributed more than $13,000 toward the $63,000 state-of-the-art technological marvel, which is the first of its kind for a North Dakota school.
"We're just proud to be able to step up and help and be a good neighbor," said Jeff Volk of Moore Engineering. "We've been in this community for 50 years, and we're just trying to give back."
"It's all about supporting the high school and kids, and staying active in the community," said Casey Smith, of First International Bank. "There was no question of not doing it. It was just a matter of putting it all together."
The Packer Backer's Todd Warner said the idea of getting the video board for the high school came together around the same time talks of a new scoreboard popped up. Warner and fellow board member Allan Hogenson then began a five-month process of researching scoreboards, video boards, their uses and funding sources.
This process eventually evolved into a much more encompassing change. Besides the video board, the high school gym now boasts new LED scoreboards, new shot clocks, 12 new glass blackboards on the side courts, backboards on the main court with shot clocks and back lights, and new state championship banners on the walls.
But while sports like wrestling, basketball and volleyball may get some added benefit from the video board, in particular, there was a bigger picture to look at, too. Athletic director Curt Jones said the major selling point was the integration of the board as an educational tool.
Principal Corey Steiner and teacher Jeremy Murphy are developing and audio-video course to be offered next year. The class will revolve around the operation and use of the state-of-the-art technology, and student trained with the board likely will be utilized during special events.
The marketing class will also be selling advertising spots on the video board, making this project a revenue generator for the class and Packer Backers, alike. This revenue will allow the Packer Backers to continue to make contributions to WFHS for years to come, Warner said.
Other uses include prom, awards ceremonies, pep rallies, lyceums, and student body gatherings.
Warner explained that the video board, scoreboard and statisticians computers are all integrated to allow real-time display of statistics during athletic events. The video board has numerous capabilities that include graphics displays, live shots and instant replays.
Jones said that latter aspect likely will not be utilized during games, however.
"It probably will be more realistically used for before-game highlights and player statistics," he said.
And the old scoreboards and time clocks weren't thrown in the trash: instead, they will be reused at the Lodoen Center gym, Jones said.
For the high school and its students, the additions to the gym will have far-reaching benefits. It never would have happened if members of the community hadn't come together to reach a common goal.
Warner said none of this would have been possible without the generous donations from Moore Engineering and First International Bank, and the help from the people like Jones, Steiner, Hogenson, and buildings and grounds director Pete Diemert, to name a few.