Keeping score: solar-powered "green" scoreboard is the first of its kind in campus history

For the past two decades, if you went to ball game at UCSC’s four-acre Lower East Field, it helped if you had excellent eyesight.

The portable scoreboard was only 5 feet wide and 2.5 feet tall. That’s not very large considering that home games for the men’s and women’s soccer teams can draw more than 300 people to the scenic field.

“Usually it is positioned directly across the field from where the guests sit, but it’s not ideal,” said Ryan Andrews, UCSC’s executive director of Student Engagement, which includes the Office of Physical Education, Recreation and Sports [OPERS], Student Organization Advising and Resources [SOAR] as well as Student Media. “You’ve got to have pretty good eyes, and it just doesn’t feel right.”

This longstanding situation is about to change thanks, to a donation by Wells Fargo Bank, which is paying for the $15,000 project – the first permanent outer playing field scoreboard in the campus’s history. The scoreboard will be solar-powered.

A Wells Fargo representative, Michelle Bassi, found out about the scoreboard situation during a tour of the campus, following Wells Fargo’s initial sponsorship of UCSC’s annual Scholarship Benefit Dinner. The bank tabled at a recent student orientation event and has ATMS on the campus.

Later, several other Wells Fargo representatives, including Jeff Oellerich, vice president’ community banking district manager, and senior vice president/regional marketing director Alec Hughes, also visited the site and approved the donation to pay for the scoreboard.

The scoreboard’s installation, scheduled for late this summer, is good news for sports groups that use the field, including men’s and women’s soccer, which hold matches as well as practice here. Rugby, ultimate Frisbee and various intramural sports teams also play there.

The new project will be installed in time for a major soccer tournament this fall on campus.

The current portable scoreboard operates on a generator, and must be hauled out for each match.

“It basically gives you the number of goals and the timing, and that’s it,” Andrews said. “We run a big extension cord to the generator.”

The dimensions of the upcoming permanent scoreboard will be much more viewer-friendly than the old one. It will be 5 feet and 6 inches high and 16 feet across. The board will be set up on seven-foot-high posts for even better visibility.

As an additional perk, the pesky extension cord will no longer snake across the field; there will be no need to draw power from a generator.

“This scoreboard is going to enhance the experience for players as well as spectators at the Lower East Field,” said Kathleen Hughes, UCSC’s director of development. “The fact that it’s solar-powered is an additional boon for the campus. This fits right in with all the eco-friendly building, retrofitting and carbon-reducing projects we’re seeing on campus right now.”