By Aubreigh Heck
Hutchinson Community College football fans have more than a new season to look forward to, as Gowans Stadium is now home to a brand-new scoreboard.
The new scoreboard, which will now be on the south end, measures 40 feet by 24 feet, according to HutchCC athletic director Josh Gooch.
“The previous scoreboard was 12 feet tall, and 32 feet wide. The video replay board on the top was 12 feet tall by 20 feet wide,” Gooch said. “The new one has 197 more square feet of board.”
The new scoreboard will display the score on the bottom of the board, have advertisers on the sides and have video replay in the middle. The new board will also be all LED, compared to the last scoreboard that only had the LED on the top video replay board.
“The entire thing can be video,” Gooch said.
Also being added is a trestle on top of the board, which will illuminate to say, “Gowans Stadium.”
“The trestle isn’t up yet. All you can see right now is the two main poles sticking out from the top. It will be illuminated, and 3-feet tall. It should be done by April 1,” Gooch said.
To get a good idea of just how large the new scoreboard is, Gooch brought up the scoreboards currently in the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
“Those scoreboards (in the arena) are nine feet by 16 feet. Four of those boards in the arena could fit on the new one in Gowans,” Gooch said.
The plan for a new scoreboard started in 2018. Even though most of the scoreboard had its funding already from sponsorships, the college decided to delay building it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Most of the sponsorships were done,” Gooch said. “Because we couldn’t have fans inside the stadium after COVID hit, I didn’t think it would be fair to bill the sponsors for the board. They weren’t going to get what they paid for. All of it sold off of advertisements.”
The cost of this new board came to a total of around $500,000, as the audio system in Gowans was updated as well.
“It was exciting to finally see ground breaking on the scoreboard,” Gooch said. “Anytime you see construction progress on a college campus, it’s a sign of growth, and a sign of commitment to improvements.”
The new board will carry loads of benefits, whether it be for the athletes on the field or the fans in the stands.
“I think in the recruiting process the board is an aesthetic improvement,” Gooch said.
Blue Dragon football coach Drew Dallas agrees.
“The board shows our technological advancements to players that think about coming here,” Dallas said.
Fan experience can also be important for the players, as they can give a team momentum they might need. This board could help with that.
“I believe this new scoreboard can be used as a tool. It helps fan experience,” Dallas said. “When fans are having a good time, they have fun and get loud, and that helps our team.”
Gooch has high expectations of the board also being used outside of football.
“I would like to have the student body do a movie night this spring,” Gooch said. “Students can bring bagged chairs and lounge chairs and watch a movie on the field. Like a drive-in theater but without the cars. I know the Cosmosphere is another entity that rents a big screen for some summertime events, that could be a nice place for them to showcase their movies.”
While everyone is eager to see this new board in action, Gooch has one thing he has high hopes for.
“What I’m excited most for is for our student body to use it,” Gooch said. “To have Dana Hinshaw (director of student affairs) and those who put on those types of activities use the board for student life.”
The new scoreboard will be put to action as the Blue Dragons gear up for a new season of spring football.