Downey High doings get a digital display

06/06/2014 2:43 PM

06/06/2014 7:00 PM

After years of planning and spaghetti dinners, Downey High School’s imposing digital sign beams down on Coffee Road.

The picture-ready pixels replace four lines of plastic letters, and a computer interface replaces a long metal hook, said teacher Paula Barton on Thursday. The sign went up Wednesday.

“We’re so excited. We can put two events up at the same time. We have spell check!” she said. The former refers to an unfortunate stab at “Congratulations” on the old Downey board several years ago.

Changes were cumbersome and letters were limited to about 15 for each of the four lines. “It was kind of like sending a telegram,” Barton said.

Barton led the fundraising efforts, which included the dinners organized by Downey leadership students and gifts from Classes of 2008 through 2011. Sign Designs of Modesto worked with the school, holding the $37,000 price through the long process to complete the purchase, she said.

The old sign, put up in the 1990s, will be saved, she said. “We’re keeping it in the memorabilia room,” she said. “It has a lot of history.”

The new sign is basically the same size as the old one, but able to project far more. Its higher resolution will allow the school’s visual graphics department to shine, she said.

But it won’t shine quite yet, said Principal Richard Baum. “Everything is working, but we have to learn how to work the program,” he said. With the summer break, “we’ve got a couple of months to practice.”

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