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7/30/2013 11:15:00 AM
Area schools get new digital marquees
Community donations and district money paid for the two signs, costing $8,000 each

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

Parents and students will be able to easily see school announcements this year thanks to new digital marquees at Williams High School (WHS) and Williams Elementary-Middle School (WEMS).

The elementary-middle school previously did not have a marquee, and the high school's marquee was old and needed replacing, said Williams Unified School District Superintendent Rachel Savage.

"(The marquees are) just going to be a way to polish the front of our schools and bring us up to the 21st century," she said.

Donations from the community and money from the district helped pay for the marquees, which cost about $8,000 each.

The schools will use the marquees to announce upcoming events, emergency notifications, community messages and accomplishments of school teams.

"It's just going to be a great source of pride for our parents and our kids and a great communication mechanism," Savage said.

District staff collaborated with City Manager Brandon Buchanan and Building Inspector Tim Pettit to determine the most effective location for the marquee at the elementary-middle school. They decided to put the marquee on the edge of the parking lot so it is visible from both ends of Seventh Street. District officials are planning to put curbing around the marquee.

John Lechtenberger, who retired this past year from teaching middle school social studies, helped spearhead the marquee project.

"He really was instrumental in initiating the donations and just really helping the process along, and now I think it's going to be something that'll be appreciated by families in the community for many years to come," Savage said.

According to Lechtenberger, former WEMS Principal Donny Bridges asked him to work with the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) on getting a marquee in about 2006.

Although the PTSA was cooperative, Lechtenberger said obstacles prevented them from getting a marquee.

"It was a variety of things," he said. "They didn't have enough money or they didn't have enough support, or everybody couldn't get on the right page at the right time."

Last fall, Lechtenberger reintroduced the idea of getting a marquee at the elementary-middle school.

"I've seen them all over. Many schools across the country have marquees," he said. "It was just something that I felt would be a source of school and community pride and something that we ought to have."

Lechtenberger called the marquee a school-wide effort, with involvement from the PTSA, principals, superintendent, and site-based council.

Even though Lechtenberger has retired from WEMS, he said he'd still be able to enjoy the new marquee.

"As I said to the principal many times, I said, 'I'll be walking by to see the time and temperature on a regular basis since I live so close,'" he said.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Article comment by: JULIA YAPELL

Would love to communicate with Mr. Lechtenberger. I am a middle school teacher and ptsa board member in a title 1 school. What strategies did you utilize to convince community partners to donate money and how did you raise the remainder. A marquee is a significant yet vital investment for communication. I would greatly appreciate your assistance


Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Call me skeptikal

Nah, who needs safer bus lanes and traffic movement, you can see what time and temperature it is at the school from 30 feet away!! These are a joke. The HS marquee didn't "need to be replaced". Power wash the thing, maybe a fresh coat of paint, and some new letters. Put that $16,000 into quality education for the kids, not a couple of silly scrolling billboards.

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