Because of the influx of students, the school’s old drop-off line on Highland Oak Dr. in front of the school was no longer going to be sufficient, so the line had to be moved to the school’s rear entrance on Cross Creek Blvd.
That meant the school’s marquee, which is used to notify parents of upcoming events and recognize the accomplishments, and birthdays, of students, had to move as well, so that the majority of parents picking up or dropping off their children could now see it.
However, the original marquee was put up when the school was first built, in 1992. It did not age well.
“It was literally falling apart,” says PTA president Emily Milam. “The bottom was completely rusted out, the faux brick was completely rotted. Moving it wasn’t going to be an option.”
Because having a marquee is so valuable to the PTA, Milam said they asked that a new marquee be located on Cross Creek Blvd.
And not just any old marquee, with the interchangeable letters that you see at most schools. Instead, Hunter’s Green Elementary went all-in with a new, eye-catching digital board that can’t be missed by passing traffic (while also keeping its original marquee for traffic on Highland Oak Dr.).
“Because we use that marquee for so many things, we had a vested interest (in making it) as good as possible,” Milam said. “We thought an electronic one was the way of the future and thought in the long run it would be better for the school.”
The cost of the new marquee was $43,741.98, plus the of the additional electrical power that has to be run to the new signboard.
The PTA, which Milam says has done some robust fundraising at school events, contributed $3,800 towards the costs.
According to Tanya Arja, who does media outreach for Hillsborough County Schools, electronic marquees, which cost between $20,000-40,000 plus electrical power, aren’t widespread throughout the county, but some schools like Wharton, Durant and Brandon highs schools have them, and newer schools like Franklin Boys Prep Academy also have the newer electronic marquees.
The possibilities of its value make the cost of the marquee well worth it, says Milam.
“We feel like there is an upside to it,” she says. “It’s a great communications tool. We can communicate to our community, and it reaches so many people now that it is on Cross Creek.”
Milam says things like spirit nights, where the school receives proceeds from a local restaurant for advertising it, will be more fruitful, and it will benefit other school partners in the community.
Student birthdays, which are always popular, will be displayed (for a small fee), and events at the school will reach a much wider audience.
Instead of going out to manually replace letters on a marquee, which was done by a team of three volunteers, the sign can now be refreshed with a few taps on a computer keyboard inside the school.
“There’s a lot of potential,” Milam says.
Roughly 300 students and parents participated, compared to around 50 in previous years, according to Ken Lewis of the Hunter’s Green Elementary PTA.
The re-zoning, and lack of busing options, have led to many more students biking and walking to school from Arbor Greene, Cory Lake Isles, Misty Creek and other neighborhoods along Cross Creek Blvd. that may have previously attended Pride Elementary off Kinnan St.