Bid approved for work on HHS; new football scoreboard gets nod

By DAVID TISDALE,

A bid of $996,000 from Sullivan Enterprises of Magee was approved by the Hattiesburg Public School District’s Board of Trustees at its April 9 meeting for work at Hattiesburg High School. The work is part of the planned improvements to schools and facilities throughout the district to be paid for with funds from the ad valorem tax renewal approved by voters in 2018.

The renovations at HHS will begin immediately after the last day of classes in May. 

“It’s great to see these projects getting started,” superintendent Robert Williams said.

The board also approved partial funding for a state-of-the-art LED color-video display scoreboard that will grace Hattiesburg High School’s D.I. Patrick Stadium soon, after it signed off on a partnership between the district and private sponsors, initially to include Coca-Cola, to pay for it. 

HPSD Athletics Coordinator and Head Football Coach Tony Vance discussed the project with the trustees during its work session. The overall scoreboard will be 29 feet high and 32 feet wide overall, with the actual screen measuring 8 feet high and 32 feet wide. Produced by Fair-Play, the scoreboard has a 10-year warranty, according to information provided at the meeting.

A total price tag on the scoreboard was not available at the meeting, but the district’s contribution to the project would be just more than $136,000, with the remainder coming from other partners. Williams said those funds would not come from revenue gained from the renewal of ad valorem taxes voters approved last summer.

Vance said the scoreboard presented an opportunity to bring in revenue for the district’s athletics program with the sale of advertising on the scoreboard, and also a chance to display information about achievements in both academics and athletics on the videoboard for those in attendance. Similar ones, he said, are at Oak Grove, Petal and Presbyterian Christian High School football stadiums. 

“It’s a chance for a lot of people, including about 5,000 or more who attend football games, to see that and learn more about the great things happening in our schools,” Vance said.

In other news from the board meeting:

• Nearly 60 students from schools across the district were honored for perfect scores on the 2018 State Assessment Test at the meeting, while Parkway Heights Methodist Church and University Baptist Church were recognized for their contributions to the district with Partner of the Year designations.

• Williams said the district will purchase four new buses to replace aging vehicles in an attempt to upgrade its fleet, which includes more than 25 buses, and to curb chronic and expensive repairs to older vehicles. “We want to avoid as much as possible spending more in repairs on buses than they are worth,” he said. 

The next regular HPSD Board of Trustees meeting is set for May 14.

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