As a new season approaches at Wayzata High School, players run through drills on their home field's artificial turf under the August sun.
"It's going really good," said Zach Mitchem, a junior guard on the football team of Wayzata's Monday practice. "It's a little hot but you know, that's what the water's for."
It's during the dog days of summer that champions are built, but that's not the only thing being built on the Wayzata campus.
"It's actually the same board that the Minnesota Twins have, just a smaller version of it," said Dan Carlson, an electrician with the Wayzata School District.
When the Trojans kick off their season, fans and players will have a new LED scoreboard — complete with a high definition replay screen — to enhance the game day experience.
"It's a big upgrade from the old scoreboard we had, and it's gonna be nice to see some of the highlights as they're going on during the games," Mitchem said.
It's a far cry from what they could do with the old scoreboard, which dates back to the late 1990s.
"Like any technology, it's well beyond its life span," Carlson said.
That's exactly why the Wayzata athletic boosters, and athletic department, joined forces to replace the old scoreboard.
"The existing football scoreboard actually is obsolete or becoming obsolete and becoming more and more difficult to obtain replacement parts or replacement bulbs for," said Matt White, the Wayzata Athletic Booster President.
So out with the old scoreboard, and in with the new. White says 82 percent of the $350,000 price tag came from sponsorships.
"I mean, I guess we earned it with ticket sales and boosters and sponsors and stuff," Mitchem said.
However, White says it's more than just a football scoreboard. It will support seven sports and showcase other school activities as well.
"The fact that it is giving us a showcase vehicle for our student athletes on so many other levels, and the fact that it can be integrated into the curriculum is I think what really, on a personal level, got me on board with it," White said.
It's an impressive piece of equipment that players admit they're blessed to have, with one caveat.
"If anything, it puts more of a target on our back," admitted Mitchem. "Because you know, 'Wayzata, big new board, oh they're so blah, blah, blah,' so I guess it just, if anything it makes our game even sharper to show that we earned this and that we've got to defend the turf, you know."
Meanwhile, students involved in video production at the high school will not only learn how to operate the equipment, but also create videos that will play during the games.
The scoreboard will make its official debut on Aug. 23 at the girl's varsity soccer game.
The Wayzata Athletic Booster organization's long term goal for the scoreboard is to build a revenue stream through ongoing paid business sponsorships to help fund future scoreboard needs throughout the district.
Aug. 20, 2012