School Board Members Ponder New Sign For North Salem Elementary

September 27, 2013

Staff Photo by S. Aaron Shamshoyan School board members heard a proposal Tuesday to install an electronic message board sign to replace the one pictured at North Salem Elementary School on Zion Hill Road.

by S. Aaron Shamshoyan

The Parent Teacher Association at North Salem Elementary School has recently raised funds and installed new playground equipment, but now they have set their sights on a more controversial item.

Presenting before the school board Tuesday, PTA president Robyn Glickel and member Kathleen Martiniello sought approval from the board for a fundraising initiative to install an electronic message board sign at the Zion Hill property.

Principal Janice Wilkins said other schools currently have changeable type signs and that North Salem would like to have a message sign also.

Glickel said the group had funding to purchase a changeable type sign, but was more interested in an electronic message board sign.  “We have a good year of fundraising ahead of us,” she said.

Glickel said electronic signs are easier to change and would not have stagnant information.

Martiliello presented the board with proposed renderings of the sign featuring a brick base and LED sign.  Board members liked the look but feared controversy from the town.

Electronic message board signs are ban in the town.  While many businesses currently own and operate them, an ordinance prevents new businesses from obtaining them.  While the town and school district are exempt from the ordnance, a recent LED message board sign installed at Salem High School caused debate about if the town should follow the ordnance.

Chairman Bernie Campbell was concerned about the ordnance.  “I’m less inclined,” he said about the electronic sign.  He also felt it didn’t fit the character of the school.  “It just seems to be a little bit clashy and out of character.”

Member Pamela Berry was concerned with electrical connections for the sign.  “I wouldn’t want to see any of the new parking lot of walkways dug up.”

Member Michael Carney asked that the sign be turned off at night.  “It would change the way that road is,” he said about the residential neighborhood.

Martiliello said the sign would cost $17,950 and would stand in the current location or by the main parking lot entrance.  A changeable type sign would cost $7,000 she said.  The association would raise the entire cost of the project.

The board will take the matter up at a future meeting to decide which direction the association should take.