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Coke wins Smithsburg school contract

October 03, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

In the war between Coke and Pepsi, Smithsburg High School may be coming out the winner.

Smithsburg will receive about $1,500 in additional funding each year, a new stadium scoreboard and other bonuses as a result of the Washington County Board of Education's decision Tuesday night to approve a bid from Coca-Cola, making the company an exclusive vendor for the high school.

The Smithsburg contract is the only formal contract of its type in the county, said Bob Stambaugh, schools purchasing supervisor.

The School Board approved a six-year contract with the Hagerstown-based Central Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Inc. that will place eight to 10 machines containing carbonated and noncarbonated Coca-Cola products at the school.

A contract remains to be signed between Smithsburg Principal Valerie Novak and the company, Stambaugh said.

The different drinks to be placed in the vending machines, the number of machines and where they will be placed at the school will be Novak's decision, he said.

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Stambaugh said Smithsburg will have to abide by the countywide rule against running carbonated soda machines during the school day.

The School Board's policy committee will look into the possibility of restricting the number of soda machines at the school in the future, he said.

In a bidding process that began last May, Coca-Cola outbid Pepsi Bottling Co. in Hagerstown by offering more vending machines, a higher commission, extra bonuses such as PowerAde freebies at sports events and a new stadium scoreboard for the school, Stambaugh said.

Novak said the school's athletic boosters were pushing for something nice for the 780-student school and its athletes and the school scoreboard really needed to be replaced.

"There was no money in the budget to buy a $6,000 scoreboard and now they've got it," Stambaugh said.

The school will get Coca-Cola menu boards and clocks for its concession stands and an additional two fund-raising events a year.

Stambaugh said school officials are looking into similar contracts for North Hagerstown and Clear Spring high schools in the near future.

Stambaugh said other schools like Hancock, South and Boonsboro high schools have informal contracts that were not approved by the School Board. He said those could be turned into more formal contracts in the future.

He said school officials are looking into implementing similar contracts in the middle schools.

"This time we wanted to ensure bid practices and ensure precedence," he said.

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