- Associated Press - Friday, October 9, 2015

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (AP) - Two DeSoto County high schools, both in Southaven, are getting electronic video message boards that supporters say will generate advertising revenue to benefit the schools as well as provide public services such as Amber Alerts.

The Commercial Appeal reports (https://bit.ly/1QdlwtH) Southaven aldermen approved the message boards last week for Southaven and DeSoto Central high schools. They approved a larger sign for Southaven High because of the school’s location along Interstate 55, where planners said a bigger and taller sign was needed to be readable by high-speed traffic. Also, the Southaven property sits below road level.

“They have a public benefit,” Southaven Planning Director Whitney Choat-Cook said in supporting the proposal. She said photos displayed as part of Amber Alerts on video boards have helped locate missing children.

The Planning staff recommendation on the signs says they “would allow for advertisement of school events, Amber Alerts, weather warnings and other public safety/involvement events. The third-party advertising would be allowed … with the acknowledgment that a portion of the profits would go directly to improvements to this school and not the overall DeSoto County school system.”

“We made that one of the requirements when we started talking about this,” Mayor Darren Musselwhite said about revenue going directly to the schools.



Most of the discussion before aldermen approved sign variances allowing the boards dealt with the size of the signs. They agreed on a two-pole design considered more esthetically pleasing than a single pole but decided Southaven High needed the larger sign because of geography and the location along the interstate.

The board agreed to allow a sign with a surface area of 12 feet by 40 feet and a height of 25 feet above road level, which amounts to about a 45-foot-tall sign when accounting for the site’s location below the road level of I-55.

The DeSoto school system has 42 campuses countywide including eight high schools. DeSoto Central and Southaven are the only two high schools located in Southaven and affected by the sign variance.

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, https://www.commercialappeal.com

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