St. Charles Community College, Cottleville, MO

St. Charles Community College, in Cottleville, MO, is a public, comprehensive two-year community college serving approximately 5,700 students with associate degrees and certificate programs in the arts, business, sciences, and career-technical fields.

The school’s 12-building main campus, constructed in 1986, has won architectural awards for its contemporary “educational village” design. After years of service, the college was seeking to replace two monument signs that were aging and not keeping up with the demands of the campus. In order to advertise programs, events, and enrollment information, the college was using banners and yard signs that cluttered the campus and were time-consuming and expensive to produce.

Noticing that area businesses were using digital signs to advertise their establishments, college officials connected with Bill Yount Signs & Electric in St. Louis to work with them on the design of new monument signs that would include digital message centers.

The college selected a design featuring a poured concrete monolith base with a cast-in logo and a curved face with push-thru acrylic letters. Giving the sign a “wow factor,” Bill Yount Signs specified a high-resolution digital message center manufactured by Watchfire. A second, scaled-down structure was installed at the other end of campus.

“Bill Yount Signs has partnered with Watchfire for hundreds of projects, large and small because of their excellent products, peerless tech support, and dynamite warranties,” said Jim Hobbs, an account executive at Bill Yount Signs. Watchfire brought demo signs to the campus so officials could see how they would look.

“Since we had never installed LED signs before, we didn’t really know what to look for, so the demo signs were really helpful,” said Rich Waligurski, construction coordinator at St. Charles Community College. “It was easy to see the vivid difference between pixel sizes and the clarity Watchfire offered versus other manufacturers. We ended up selecting higher resolution signs because they were easier for passing motorists to read.”

The college leverages Watchfire’s Ignite OPx software to create content and program messages on both signs. They recently started using short video clips to highlight programs, including their new culinary training. “Our staff and marketing team love our new Watchfire signs because getting last-minute information scheduled is so easy,” said Waligurski. “From any computer, we’re able to schedule or change events, post weather notices and closings, and pre-program timely information about enrollment deadlines.”

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