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Mercedes donates scoreboard to Rocklin High

New equipment goes live in 2013
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Placer Herald and Press Tribune editor
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Next year, Rocklin High School’s football scores will look a whole lot different.

That’s because scores for football games and other athletic events will be broadcast on a brand-new scoreboard courtesy of a $70,000 donation from Mercedes-Benz of Rocklin.

“It speaks to the partnership, it speaks to the community, and this is a good example of government partnering with private enterprise,” said Diana Ruslin, a board member of the Rocklin Educational Excellence Foundation and City Council member.

It was Ruslin, not acting in any official capacity, who approached Mercedes-Benz several months ago to speak about replacing the 20-year-old scoreboard that currently stands at Rocklin High.

“I think it’s a demonstration of their commitment to the district,” Ruslin said. “We’ve worked with them for many years, and when I approached them they didn’t even waver.”

Under the terms of the agreement with the school district, Mercedes-Benz will donate $10,000 per month for seven consecutive months, starting this month. The money will go toward the installation of the scoreboard and LED monitor, including removal of the old scoreboard. The district will pay for the wiring and a new support post for the new board, which is expected to cost between $10,000 and $20,000, with the school’s football boosters donating $10,000 toward the cost, according to Sue Wesselius, senior director of facilities and operations for RUSD.

The new scoreboard will also mean training for those who will be working it, as the LED monitor will be capable of instant-replays and advertising, for which RUSD will keep the revenue. It can also be used during community events and to promote other school sports and events during games on the field.

“I think it just heightens the awareness, and highlights some of the sports that don’t necessarily have big audiences because of the type of sport they are, but are still very important, and big accomplishments of the students,” Ruslin said.

The partnership also allows for marketing of Mercedes-Benz, including naming rights across the bottom of the LED monitor and recognition as the official sponsor of all home Rocklin High football halftime shows.

Sydney Young, a partner at BrandedSac, Mercedes-Benz of Rocklin’s public relations and advertising agency, said the donation is just one more example of the business’ commitment to community.

“Rocklin Unified School District has always been considered a wonderful neighbor across the street from the dealership,” she said, adding that as more money is cut from schools, donations like this one provide for things schools would otherwise not have.

Von Housen, founded in the 1950s by George Grinzewitsch, has a history of helping community. A similar investment was recently made to the athletics program at Del Oro High School in Loomis, and Ruslin said the business has often partnered with the Rocklin Educational Excellence Foundation for events and in support of school programs.

The board will be installed this summer, when the scoreboard won’t be in use. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the first home football game in 2013.

“Compliments to Diana for securing the single largest donation the district has had,” said RUSD board Vice President Todd Lowell during a recent school board meeting.

“Your work in this community is stellar,” board President Camille Maben chimed in. “We so appreciate the fact that you love us as much as you do.”

Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at krissi@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter, @ThePlacerHerald.