Just two years after the school spent $23,531.97 on a new digital marquee to be placed at the Haycock Road entrance of George Mason, the sign sits dormant in a back parking lot while students and staff are scratching their heads about what happened.
“The whole thing is a mystery,” said Brian Fowler, head of maintenance department at George Mason High School.
“We wanted it so desperately and now we can’t use it. It’s here, it’s really frustrating,” said GMHS Principal Ty Byrd.
This seems to be the reaction from administrators, staff, and students across George Mason. The short life of the digital marquee, which was meant to be a modern update to original brick-and-plastic sign that stands on Route 7, raises more questions than it provides answers.
The manual brick sign that stands on Route 7 in front of GMHS. The sign is outdated and infrequently updated. “Nobody uses it. It’s kind of a waste of space,” said Alice Castillo, sophomore. (Photo by Eva Ellis)
The new digital sign was paid for with money raised by the graduating classes of 2011, 2012, and 2013 who donated their leftover class money to FCCPS to be used toward the project.
According to Seve Padilla, the school’s Director of Facilities and Services, GMHS administrators met “numerous times” to discuss the plan and a few vendors came to give proposals. In the end, the group decided on this particular model.
The sign arrived at the school on September 26, 2013 and stood at the Haycock Road entrance until the end of the school year of 2015. When students returned in September, 2015, the sign was gone, stashed away in a parking lot behind the Science wing.
“It’s unfortunate that the sign didn’t see much use,” said Stu Harvey, class of 2013 SCA president.
“It’s disappointing to hear that the digital marquee is out of commission… That couldn’t have been cheap.” said Karishma John, the class of 2010 SCA president who contributed in the class’s donation of the mustang statue on the school football field
The digital marquee posed problems almost immediately.
The first was the location, which did not have an electrical source, forcing the school to power the sign using gasoline and a generator.