The Unified Government Commission approved plans for a new state-of-the-art video board at CommunityAmerica Ballpark for the 2015 season.

The UG Commission voted to approve the new scoreboard at the Thursday night, Jan. 22, UG Commission meeting, without discussing it. Discussion was held at the Jan. 5 UG Economic Development and Finance standing committee meeting.

According to UG agenda information, the video scoreboard is estimated to cost between $400,000 and $450,000. The UG had budgeted $250,000 for T-Bones’ stadium improvements this year, so the budget had to be increased about $250,000 on Thursday. The money will not come from taxpayers’ funds or from the UG general fund; it will come from a fund that already has been designated to pay for stadium upkeep, UG officials said at the Jan. 5 meeting.

The new scoreboard would be expected to last about 10 years, according to officials’ remarks during the Jan. 5 meeting. They will gain the opportunity to have more electronic advertising on the scoreboard with the change, officials said. During the public comment period Jan. 5, a candidate for UG office, Christal Watson, suggested offering naming rights to the scoreboard in order to help pay for it; however that suggestion was not added to the proposal.

The T-Bones on Friday sent out a news release about the new video board:

“For the last 12 years the T-Bones have showcased world-class baseball entertainment for residents and visitors to our city,” Mayor Mark Holland said in a news release from the T-Bones. “The new HD video board is another step in their continued offering of a great, family-friendly entertainment option in our community that all can enjoy. I can’t wait for opening day!”

The high-definition video board, which will be installed where the current scoreboard stands, will measure approximately 36 feet wide and 30 feet tall. It will be more than four times larger than the current video board.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with city staff, Mayor Holland’s administration and the Board of Commissioners,” said T-Bones president Adam Ehlert. “The cooperative effort reinforces our commitment that T-Bones Baseball is a cornerstone of affordable, family-oriented entertainment in the metropolitan area.”

Daktronics will design, manufacture and install the energy-efficient video board, which will replace the scoreboard that’s been used at CommunityAmerica Ballpark since the stadium opened in 2003.

“This will have a huge, positive impact on our fan experience at the ballpark,” said T-Bones vice president and general manager Chris Browne. “It’s not only a great enhancement to the gameday presentation, but it also provides our partners with an improved platform to get their message across. Our fans are going to love it.”

Construction will begin in February.

Architectural renderings of the new scoreboard will be available in the upcoming weeks.

The new video board is slated to be ready when the T-Bones open the 2015 regular season on May 22 against Lincoln.

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Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today formally asked the three-judge panel in the state school finance litigation to provide a clear explanation of what information it relied on to reach its conclusion last month that the state’s funding of public schools is inadequate.

Schmidt filed a motion asking the panel to “alter and amend” its Dec. 30 order so that it complies with the Kansas Supreme Court’s instruction for the panel to engage in fact-finding as to the state’s school-funding system.

According to Schmidt, both the state and the plaintiffs submitted numerous proposed “findings of fact” to the panel, but instead of sorting through them and stating which the panel believes to be correct and which are incorrect based on the evidence in the record, the panel stated that “all facts, by whomever presented, could not reasonably be discussed individually,” and instead merely stated “[f]acts inconsistent with our original Opinion and our Opinion issued following are rejected implicitedly [sic].” The panel also asserted that the plaintiffs’ findings of fact “speak the truth” without explanation of which of the numerous proposed findings of fact the panel was referring or whether that also referred to several finding proposed by the plaintiffs that the panel previous rejected.

“The ‘speak the truth’ and ‘spoke the truth’ statements are, to be candid, extremely ambiguous and largely unhelpful for meaningful appellate review,” Schmidt wrote in his motion. “The ‘implicit’ rejection without explicit findings will require both the parties and the Kansas Supreme Court to engage in rank speculation and a high stakes guessing game as to what the Panel has determined are the actual facts and whether such facts are consistent or inconsistent under the Panel’s legal conclusions.”

Schmidt noted that without the sort of specific fact-finding that the Kansas Supreme Court ordered, and that courts ordinarily provide, it will be difficult or impossible for the Kansas Supreme Court to engage in proper appellate review of the panel’s most recent decision.

In the motion, Schmidt also noted that the panel refused the state’s request to engage in discovery and provide the panel with additional evidence after the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling, which had clarified what needed to be proven, but then seemed to conclude that the State had not provided evidence to the panel’s satisfaction.

The case is Gannon v. State of Kansas, Case No. 2010CV1569.