Supplement Feature - July 2009
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Stadium Solutions

An Inside Look at Outdoor Sports

By Richard Zowie

Officials believe an on-campus stadium will enhance the college experience for students by making it easier for them to attend games and other events and also encourage alumni involvement. They also believe InfoCision will give the university enhanced recruitment and help them better retain students along with enticing big-name, non-conference football opponents to northeastern Ohio.

Paul Hammond, associate athletics director for facilities at the University of Akron, said the new stadium gives the college versatility when it comes to hosting games. It makes it easier for them to bid to host high school football playoff games. The goal posts and hashmarks for high school and college games are different, and with what they have now, they can make adjustments. Besides having safety hinges like what Minnesota has, InfoCision's goalposts are adjustable for both levels of football: They can be widened to 23 feet, 4 inches for high school games and narrowed to 18 feet, 6 inches for college games. Hammond estimated it takes about 20 minutes to adjust the goalposts and hashmarks.

This versatility desire is one Miller sees a lot. Stadiums want the width change so they can host both levels of sporting events, he said.

The new stadium's seating provides a good view whether you're in the general seating or the club level or loge boxes.

"The sightlines are good, and we measured very close from section to section," Hammond said. "This eliminates having to look over someone's head (to see the field). It looks very tight and from the field, it may seem very intimidating."

The lights used at Akron feature three different levels of illumination. The lowest is for cleaning or maintenance, the next is for practices, intramurals or other basic activities, and the highest is for games on television. The idea, Hammond said, is to conserve energy by using only what's needed. These lights can be activated by computer, a timer or a cell phone.

"We don't know all the details completely yet, but we're still learning," Hammond said. "At the Rubber Bowl, you turned the switch on and hoped they fired up. That's why we're moving out."

Believe it or not, Miller added, some lighting systems can even be managed via the Internet. Online, you can see the settings and change as needed.

InfoCision Stadium's new scoreboard is a 22-by-39-foot video board with about 20 millimeters of space between each LED board.

"The smaller the number [between boards], the clearer the image," Hammond said. "The older ones are 23 to 25. These provide better color and sharp entertainment. We had nothing like this at the Rubber Bowl, just a basic scoreboard very limited on capability and power."