The leaning tower of marching band

Panther Pride needs ESPLOST votes to fund new band tower


Katie Linkner

Starr’s Mill’s Panther Pride Marching Band continues to practice despite the inconvenience of the aged band tower. The Mill and Fayette County High School hope to receive new towers through funding provided by ESPLOST III.

Amy Orr, Staff Writer

After working for Starr’s Mill’s Panther Pride Marching Band for twenty years, the rickety band tower is ready for retirement.

“It’s served its purpose, but it’s time [for a new one],” band director Scott King said.

The band tower is a tall wooden stand that the band directors and other instructors use as a vantage point over the marching band during rehearsals. It allows them a bird’s eye view which makes directing the band easier as opposed to being on the field with the members. Starr’s Mill’s was originally built by an Eagle Scout, and it has received a few renovations in past years to make it at least accessible until a new one is received.

However, the time has come for a whole new one. The tower poses a potential threat to the safety of anyone who uses it. The band now seeks a replacement.

In order to receive the new tower, the band hopes to use the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. This is a one-penny sales tax which can be used by school systems to build new facilities, renovate existing structures, improve school bus fleets, upgrade heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, and it can also pay debt from previous projects.

The ESPLOST II has already been in place, and this summer the Board of Education voted in favor of extending it.  Now it’s up to Fayette County voters. The ESPLOST will be on the ballot in November.

Fayette County High School’s marching band is also in need of a new band tower. With the help of ESPLOST, both schools can receive their needed towers, but votes are needed in order to continue the tax and pay for renovations and improvements.