Solar-powered scoreboard coming to Lower East Field

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UCSC staff members accept a $15,000 donation from Wells Fargo Bank to pay for a solar scoreboard on Lower East Field. From left: Linda Spradley, UCSC’s director of athletics, Ryan Andrews, UCSC’s executive director of Student Engagement, Emily Scheese, assistant coach for women’s soccer,  Michael Runeare, head coach for men’s soccer,  Jeff Oellerich, vice president and Santa Cruz District banking manager, Wells Fargo Bank, and Sue Lewis, community banking president, Monterey and Santa Cruz region, Wells Fargo bank.(photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

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

“The small, portable scoreboard 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. “You’ve got to have pretty good eyes. It just doesn’t feel right.”

This longstanding situation is about to change, thanks to a generous donation by Wells Fargo Bank, which is paying for the first permanent outdoor playing field scoreboard in campus history. The $15,000 scoreboard will be solar-powered and a much better fit for the 300 spectators that come to the men’s and women’s intercollegiate soccer matches.

Wells Fargo representative Michelle Bassi learned about the outdated scoreboard during a campus tour, following Wells Fargo’s initial sponsorship of the annual Scholarship Benefit Dinner. Several months later, she and other senior Wells Fargo representatives, including Jeff Oellerich and Alex Hughes, visited the site and approved the donation to pay for the scoreboard.

Workers will install the scoreboard in time for soccer matches that will be held on the field next fall.

The upcoming project is good news for the men’s and women’s soccer teams and for other sports groups that use the field, including rugby, Ultimate Frisbee, and various intramural teams.

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 new scoreboard will be 5 ½ feet high and 16 feet across, or 7 times larger than the old one. The board will rest on seven-foot posts for optimal visibility.  

The extension cord will no longer snake across the field; there will be no need for a generator.

For more information contact Kathleen R Hughes, Development Director, at 831.459.4552 or khughes@ucsc.edu.