After months of hard work from students, the Nelson County high school and middle school complex has a new, electronic sign to keep passersby informed.

Janell Stinnett, Nelson County Public School’s director of secondary education, said the project started many years ago when different class committees began raising money for the sign. When former Division Superintendent Jeff Comer was in the county, they looked at the possibility of upgrading their sign, but the electronics at the time were too expensive. Finally, in August 2018, Stinnett got together with parents, community members, faculty, and administration to form a sign committee.

“We came up with a design we liked and agreements on what we wanted and what we could afford,” Stinnett said.

The money for this upgrade has been raised by donations from different class committees as well as anonymous donors.

“This money has been earmarked and put aside for this. It’s not out of the budget,” Stinnett said.

Paul Connell’s building trades classes built the sign themselves, with guidance from Connell. Connell did not return request for comment as of November 22.

“We figured out it would be more advantageous if we could allow our building trades students to do the foundation and brickwork and a company do the top portion of sign and electronics. We really wanted students to be part of this,” Stinnett said.

David Parr, current vice-chair and West District representative on the school board, said it’s exciting to see something completed that has been in the making since his first budget cycle on the school board back in 2004.

“Each year, board members are asked for any Capital Improvement items they may wish to add. During my first budget cycle in 2004, the item I added to our ‘wish list’ was a new electronic sign for the front of the high school. It’s exciting to see it finally become a reality,” Parr said in an email Nov. 22.

“Not only does it look great, it will also be an asset to our community, keeping us all informed of upcoming events in the schools. Kudos to our school administrators for working to acquire the funds and to our alumni and community members for making donations toward this new addition to campus,” Parr said.

The sign was officially up and working Nov. 21, very close to the projected date of completion. The foundation and brickwork should last indefinitely, and the electronic portion has a five-year warranty.

“This was a collaborative effort between the school, the students, the maintenance department, and the community. We are super excited to be able to offer a new way to communicate with all stakeholders,” Stinnett said.

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Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.

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