“That’s the biggest championship the NCAA does, and we want to put our best foot forward,” Whitman said.
The aging scoreboards at Veterans Memorial Sports Complex and Mitchell Hall natatorium have malfunctioned for years. Repairs to the scoreboards at the football stadium and soccer field can take several days because some obsolete parts have to be specially made and electricians have to improvise.
Construction of Veterans Memorial Sports Field Complex was supposed to include new exterior scoreboards, but funding ran out and an old scoreboard was relocated to the new stadium in 2008.
The athletics department has since located sufficient funding and made replacing scoreboards a top equipment priority. Some savings should result from buying five boards at once, Whitman said.
“Some of the scoreboards are more than 20 years old,” Whitman said. “They don’t often work, and we’ve spent a lot of money each year to maintain the boards and make sure they function for our events and the high schools and community events we host.”
There have been “some close calls” but no event has been canceled or delayed because of the faulty scoreboards, Whitman said.
On Wednesday, the State Building Commission approved UW-L’s $918,000 request for five new scoreboards and to remove the existing ones. The purchase price should be less as state purchasing practices require including some contingencies that don’t always materialize, Whitman said.
Corporate sponsors Pepsi, Festival Foods and Logistics Health Inc. will have “some exposure” on the new boards, Whitman said, although details aren’t finalized. The boards will have to be customized to include school and corporate logos.
The new equipment will have light-emitting diode display boards, and the stadium’s scoreboard will have video, “which will be a great contribution to the atmosphere of our stadium,” said Whitman.
If the ambitious acquisition schedule is met, Whitman anticipates having the new scoreboards installed by the fall’s first home football game.