Tim Green was watching the news on a St. Louis television station last spring when he saw a story about an area high school trying to replace the aging scoreboard at its football and track stadium.
It wasn’t just any high school. It was McCluer South-Berkeley High School, which includes students from Ferguson, Mo., the town hit hard by riots following a police shooting in the summer of 2014.
Green, the director of governmental and legislative relations for St. Louis Local 1 and a former Missouri state legislator, saw an opportunity to help. The local’s board agreed. A few months later, thanks to the generosity of Local 1 and signatory contractors, the school had a new $25,000 scoreboard in place.
“It shows that we as an industry are supportive,” Green said. “Everyone is trying to give back to that community.”
McCluer South-Berkeley Principal Steven Lawler is thankful, as the district didn’t have the funds to replace the old scoreboard. The school’s alumni association was trying to raise money for a new one, which led to the story on the St. Louis Fox affiliate.
|St. Louis Local 1 Business Manager Frank Jacobs and Director of Governmental and Legislative Relations Tim Green joined community leaders and teachers, coaches, administrators and students from McCluer South-Berkeley High School for the dedication of its new scoreboard last fall.
“Their willingness to help, the flexibility and quick turnaround, made the whole process easy and fulfilling,” Lawler said. “School spirit and pride are important to any high school and the donation of the scoreboard aided that cause greatly. We had the largest homecoming crowd ever and they were able to see the score, down and time for the first time in a long time.”
The old board was positioned in a way that it was unreadable on sunny days, Lawler said. It didn’t use the energy efficient lights and was hard to read.
Football players, coaches and fans couldn’t tell how much time was left in the quarter or on the 40-second play clock. They couldn’t even make out the score.
“It’s very embarrassing to have a scoreboard, but no one knows that it’s actually on or is working,” McCluer South-Berkeley quarterback Tyler Chandler told television station KTVI.
There also wasn’t a separate timing clock for events in track, which is a pretty big deal at McCluer South-Berkeley. The school won the Class 3 Missouri state boys track title last spring, continuing a run of success that began with a state title in 2008 and two runner-up finishes since. The girls team finished second at state last year, just 1 ½ points out of first place, and annually has one of Missouri’s top teams.
Local 1 and its contractors went about providing a scoreboard the school could be proud of. The first television report aired on May 1. The new scoreboard was installed four months later. It included LED lights and time clocks that could be broken down into one-hundreds of a second. Most important is that people could actually read it.
Local 1 and its signatory contractors, known locally as The Electrical Connection, were publicly honored before a McCluer South-Berkeley game on Oct. 17 and during a meeting of the Ferguson-Florissant School Board on Oct. 14.
“I come from a family of union workers, such as sheet metal workers, electricians and carpenters and know the benefit those associations provide their members,” Lawler said.
Lawler knows a scoreboard isn’t as important as other educational issues, such as class size and supporting quality teachers.
“But it is one of the most visible things at your school,” he said. “It’s something people notice when they come to your campus and it’s something we would not have been able to do with school district money.”
Giving back to the community is nothing new for Local 1. Business Manager Frank Jacobs said The Electrical Connection tries to make a donation each year to a school that has a history of using Local 1 workers on its projects. Three years ago, it donated and installed two new scoreboards at Cape Girardeau Central Junior High School, about 110 miles south of St. Louis.
“This is a case of an area in need and a school district that has always used IBEW labor,” Jacobs said. “We were glad to do it and I know they’re appreciative of it.”
Lawler said he’s tried not to tie the event in with the protests in Ferguson, noting a new scoreboard was needed no matter the circumstances. But the unrest there probably gave that need more visibility.
“The neat part is the way the kids have responded,” said Lawler, noting the football team won all three of its home games after the scoreboard was installed. “Because of the events in the recent past, they are always reminded when they go somewhere they’re from Ferguson. They see the facilities that other schools have. For them to have something like this is really important.”