SC solicits athletic field sponsors

Sep 12, 2018 by

Published in the September 12, 2018 edition

By JILLIAN STRING

LYNNFIELD — During the Sept. 4 meeting, School Committee Chairman Jamie Hayman announced that the committee will be seeking sponsors for Pioneer Stadium at Lynnfield High School in order to help defray rising education costs.

“The reality is we’ve absorbed everything from MarketStreet and new growth is really leveling off within town, so there’s not a lot of new revenue outside of property taxes that is coming in,” Hayman said. “The two (operational costs) that have spiked recently, one is around special education, and the other is high school sports transportation, which has gone up over 50 percent in the last two years.”

Hayman noted that these costs are putting significant strain on the district, especially with the potential for new housing developments in town that may require the need for additional school space and revenue.

In order to manage some of these rising costs, Hayman suggested expanding public-private partnerships.

“Earlier this spring, Jane and I had met with a business who expressed interest in potentially doing a sponsorship at the high school at the fields, and that sparked a lot of interest on my end, but it also caused us to step back and say what are our processes, what are our needs for something like this,” Hayman said.

According to Hayman, a limited number of sponsorships will be offered to businesses, with the possibility of exclusivity should the right opportunity present itself.

Hayman, in conjunction with Board of Selectmen Chairman Dick Dalton and Town Administrator Rob Dolan, will create a request for proposal (RFP) to identify up to four major sponsors for Pioneer Stadium.

Based upon the contract, sponsors could be featured on the scoreboard, amenities building, press box, or the field itself.

The sponsorships will not include naming rights, and would ideally run for three to five years.

“We’re looking at a spring 2019 roll out if this works,” Hayman noted.

Hayman also mentioned that a percentage of the revenue would go into the field replacement trust, with the remainder of the funds going to the schools.

According to Hayman, sponsorships are happening all over the country.

Local examples include a sponsorship starting in 2011 when New Balance paid $500,000 ($50,000 a year for 10 years) to sponsor Newell Stadium in Gloucester.

The Institution for Savings Charitable Foundation donated more than $1 million to support field renovation projects in the Triton Regional School District and Newburyport.

Wakefield, Reading, and Melrose sell banners on their fields ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 per year.

Hayman also identified other projects that would improve the district and could potentially be funded by public-private partnerships.

These projects include new tennis courts at LHS, new curtains and lighting for the theater, technology upgrades for the STEM lab at Lynnfield Middle School, LHS weight room, and LHS locker rooms.

“I want us to, as a district, begin to identify projects that can be funded outside of Town Meeting allocated resources,” Hayman stated. “I think we need to start to be creative with what our needs are.”

The School Committee supported Hayman’s proposal.

“I think that partnerships with local businesses is a very important thing,” School Committee member Phil McQueen stated. “If people want to spend money advertising on the field, they should be allowed to particularly if it frees up money for other things.”

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