Stevenson High School proposes new electronic sign
The current Stevenson High School sign that is in the planning stages of being replaced. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 1:57AM
LINCOLNSHIRE — Stevenson High School officials are planning to modernize the school’s signage at the entrance to the campus on Half Day Road.
The Stevenson School Board’s finance committee met last week with Cannon Design, Inc., to look at potential layouts for a new marquee sign. If built, it would replace the 14-year-old marker with a fresh look and would be an LED, moving display.
“The original marker has served its purpose well, but outlived its usefulness,” said SHS spokesman Jim Conrey. “The sign was advanced technology in 1998,” Conrey wrote. “Now it is like an 8-track tape player in a world with MP3 devices.”
The School Board looked at the design during its Monday meeting, but took no vote. If the board approves a new sign, with an expected price tag of $70,000, it will need the blessing of the Lincolnshire Village Board.
In the past, the Village Board has been quite critical of lighted, moving signs. Trustees have expressed that they do not fit the ambiance of the area.
Mayor Brett Blomberg said that while public schools need to consult with fire authorities for life-safety needs during construction, state law bars Village Hall from holding permitting authority for aesthetics. He said he understood why SHS was hoping for a more attention-grabbing marker.
“It’s not something we’d like to see, but that’s the way signs are going,” he said.
But trustee David Saltiel, who spoke adamantly against requests for electronic billboards by CityPark and the Marriott resort in recent years, believed that Lincolnshire has some leverage.
“We may have certain regulatory controls over them,” and Saltiel said his primary concern was how luminous a new sign would be. “The way you control that nowadays is the brightness factor. What they have right now is actually bright-bright, and quite annoying.”
But, he acknowledged that what SHS is considering is the future of signs.
“We want to deal with them fairly and appropriately,” he said. “The LEDs are here to stay.”
At Monday’s meeting, Conrey told the School Board that the proposed marker was roughly the same size as the current product. Built by White Way Sign, it cost SHS $55,000 at that time.
The Village Board, in its past discussions, also had concerns about how quickly different messages would cycle through the board; the board has seen little turnover in recent years. Conrey said at Monday’s meeting that an LED sign for Stevenson would hold each message for 10 seconds.
Earlier Monday, Conrey noted that when Lincolnshire annexed Stevenson from Prairie View, the existing sign had yet to be built, but the trustees of that time granted the school an exception from its no-electronic-billboard policy. Village Hall has seen the new proposal, he said, and SHS had not received any concerns back.
“We haven’t heard anything different, so we’re proceeding with the expectation that they’re going to honor past practices.”