Leader Blues

Friday, July 07, 2006

SPORTS >> Jacksonville High getting big new scoreboard

BY RAY BENTON

IN SHORT: Jan Crow Stadium is undergoing a facelift this summer. A new jumbo-tron scoreboard will accompany improvements to the press box and visitors side bleachers for the fall.

Renovations have been ongoing at Jacksonville High School’s Jan Crow Stadium throughout the summer break, and the biggest improvement is just beginning. The scoreboard on the north end of the football field was taken down Friday, and will be replaced by a new, larger one that will feature electronic advertising and a jumbo-tron screen.

Plans for the new scoreboard were hatched by local volunteer John Wolford, who has been running the scoreboard for JHS from the press box for several years.

“He (Wolford) came to me with the idea,” Jacksonville athletics coordinator Jerry Wilson said. “He’s been helping out here for years. He don’t have a kid in the program, he just loves his community and works hard for us. We took the idea to a few businesses and they jumped right in to help.”

The biggest financial backer of the renovations, which includes several other projects beside the new scoreboard, has been First Arkansas Bank and Trust.

“We took the idea to Larry Wilson (bank president),” Wilson said. “He asked us to let him think about it, and he agreed to do it that same day. It’s just another example of how committed he is to his community also. They’ve done so much for this town we couldn’t even count it.”

Gwatney Chevrolet and Sonic also donated large sums to the project. Local contractor Ronnie Hayden and the city of Jacksonville have also aided in the renovations.

Among the other improvements, the press box is getting new siding on the outside and paneling on the inside. Wilson also hopes to get the large window on the front of the press box tinted.

The JHS Booster Club is repainting the bleachers, while Hayden and the city have been instrumental in cleaning up the visitors stands and the area behind the south end zone.

“We’re trying to get all that cleaned out so we can put in a new fence line,” Wilson said. “We hope to have all that done so we can put in another gate on that side. We want to set up a ticket booth over there to accommodate the visitors.

The total dollar amount of the project, according to Wilson, is around $125,000.

“The good thing about that is it’s not coming out of our budget,” Wilson said. “This is all paid for by support from our community, and I can’t express how much we appreciate that.”

Wilson hopes the projects will be complete by the beginning of the season.

“That’s the goal, but that’s coming up on us real fast. I didn’t even realize how close it was.”