The Board of Education unanimously approved, during its Tuesday, October 1, meeting, to seek a zoning variance from the Planning and Zoning Commission for an electric sign to be placed at Newtown High School’s entrance.
“The installation of an electric sign is something we wanted to run by the Board of Ed before going to Planning and Zoning,” said NHS Principal Charles Dumais. “It requires a variance from Planning and Zoning. We wanted to know whether or not we had the board’s support in moving forward with this.”
Mr Dumais said the high school’s Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) is willing to help fundraise for the financing of the sign.
Whether the sign will be two-sided or one-sided will determine its placement, according to Mr Dumais. He said a two-sided sign would most likely be placed on the median at the school’s entrance, and a one-sided sign would most likely be placed where the school’s current sign is located.
Since there is electricity already available at the school’s median, an electric sign could cost between $8,000 to $20,000, according to Mr Dumais. Those figures are estimates, as Mr Dumais said no signs have been priced out.
“It is a significant amount of work to have somebody do estimates on that type of thing, and I didn’t know if we were going to Planning and Zoning. We need to get a variance first.” said Mr Dumais.
While school board member Keith Alexander said he felt an instant dislike to the idea of an electric sign at the high school — due to the general character of the town — he was won over when he read a list of the sign’s intended uses.
“Knowing what day it is, like whether it is a ‘B Day’ or not, suddenly seemed like a very valuable thing,” Mr Alexander said, “also to pull in and be reminded as you are dropping your kid off that it is a half-day today. So there definitely looks like a lot of useful information that can be presented.”
Another use for an electric sign pointed out during the meeting would be to announce sports events or other events open to community members for people driving by the high school.
Before the school board unanimously approved Mr Dumais to seek a variance from the Planning and Zoning Commission, he also said the project will be presented to the school board again for final approval.