Enhancing Sporting Events for Thomas MacLaren Charter School

May 22, 2024 – Colorado Springs, CO – In 2009, the Thomas MacLaren School opened its doors, and by 2015, it was bursting at the seams with eager students. School leaders knew they needed a larger space to accommodate their growing program. Teaming up with Encore Electric and GE Johnson, they embarked on a journey to find the new location. Today, the school thrives on a campus originally designed for middle school, now bustling with high school students. As the high school sports program grows, the facilities need upgrades to meet the demands of the sports teams.

“It’s been fun to watch them grow and change and for them to consider our team to be an asset to them,” said Mike Ferguson, Encore Electric senior account manager.

To meet the needs of the high school soccer team and attract new players, it was crucial to improve the facilities. However, the school faced significant financial challenges when it came to installing a new scoreboard, as the cost estimates far exceeded the athletics budget. Despite efforts to raise funds for the scoreboard, it was expected that the funding needs would not be met for at least two years, which meant the school would miss opportunities to enhance its reputation by hosting large sports events.

Encore Electric and GE Johnson stepped in to donate a new scoreboard and covered installation costs for the school’s soccer team. This upgrade brought much-needed modern technology and school pride to the field as well as enabling the school to meet the demands of hosting high school soccer playoffs and other quality events, making it comparable to other schools. The new scoreboard will significantly enhance the experience for fans, players, and referees.

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Scorekeeping on the sidelines of the Highlanders games had a long history. First, volunteers relied on a flip chart placed on a table to keep track of the time and score. To prevent the flip chart from blowing away on windy days, it was weighed down with rocks, and the flaps were secured with binder clips.

Later, the flip chart was replaced by a small, electronic, portable scoreboard that also sat on a table near the sidelines. Although it tracked time, it still was not accurate. Neither the flip chart nor the portable scoreboard provided visibility to the field.

“The scoreboard donation has made a huge impact on our school and community in that it increases the profile of our school considerably,” said Chrissy Steigerwald, Thomas MacLaren School athletic director. “Aesthetically, it is night and day. Our campus has received an upgrade that enhances the environment where we host games. The player and coach experiences are improved now that teams can know the time and exact score. The fan experience has improved too, they are more engaged with the game and the ease with which referees can officiate has improved. Everything about our soccer games is better. This scoreboard is a game-changer!”

Teamwork remained a critical aspect of the project’s game plan. “I was engaged with the Encore Electric team through the entire process,” said Steigerwald. “We sent initial design ideas and suggestions and worked through the color and logo placement. Before installation, we had several walk-throughs to decide on the ideal placement for visibility and security. During installation, we were informed of every step and all expectations.”

The school was named after Thomas MacLaren, an architect who designed hundreds of buildings in Colorado Springs during the late 1800s. MacLaren was known for his meticulous attention to detail and emphasis on aesthetics and cultural values, which remain prominent in the community he helped build.

Much like its namesake, the school’s vision is to fully immerse students in the culture that surrounds them and to take pride in their education. By creating a sense of history and culture, the school strives to inspire students to actively engage and become valuable community members while pursuing their interests and education.

Encore Electric teammates are proud to build long-lasting partnerships in Colorado Springs like the partnership with the Thomas MacLaren School, who entrust us to help build a community we all love.

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