New marquee replaces letter sign

Students may have noticed a change to the sign in front of school recently, it is now a digital marquee.

The new marquee was a gift from the graduating classes of ’06, ’07, ’08 and ’09. Other costs were covered by money raised from student parking fees and from the Francis Howell Central gate.

The sign displays even more upcoming events and happenings, like ACT testing information, than the old sign.

“You can put so much more information on there, it looks ten times better than the letters [did],” said Assistant Principal Dave Stofer.

The setup of the old sign was obsolete as well. A person had to go outside, unlock it, then change out the letters. The information was never able to be kept up to date because the changing out of the letters took so long.

So it is reasonable that the ease of displaying information and the storage capacity of the marquee was really the selling point for school officials, according to Mr. Stofer.

The new system, however, is still in the beginning stages, and they are still working out how it will be run.

“Right now we are trying to get everything set up. We were thinking it would be controlled by a laptop within the school,” said Activities Director Terry Kasper.

Currently, the sign is controlled by connecting a computer via ethernet cable.

The capacity of this sign compared to the old one is a significant difference; instead of only fitting a few letters, the school can now run many screens, each displaying the information for around six seconds. Laws prohibit the sign from having transitions that are too quick, due to it being a distraction to passing motorists.

Even with the restrictions, the digital sign will be a huge improvement, according to Mr. Kasper.