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June 19, 2013

Molina gives latest on video board

The Jones AT&T Stadium enhancements are still well on pace to be completed in time for the Red Raiders' home opener against Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 7, and the video board is largely in place.

You probably already know about the nuts and bolts of the project from updates published in the winter and spring, but more details about the project were revealed on Double T 104.3 FM's "Tech Talk" with Michael Molina participating in an interview with Chris Level and Brian Hanni.

"We have some good news," the vice chancellor of facilities and planning said. "The main thing is we're on track, on time and on budget right now to deliver before kickoff for the first game. You drive by there and see the colossal structure as we speak. So you can kind of see the scale of the 190-foot by 57-foot screen in the interior piece."

The video board is not quite at its full size yet, but a misconception is that the video board would encompass the entire structure that supports it. Some space is reserved for ads and the stereo equipment.

However, there are multiple ways to rank where the actual video board stands compared to other Big 12 rivals and the screen will be one of the best in the conference.

"If you measure the box and the structure and footing, we're the largest in the Big 12," Molina said. "The video board is internal so it's a little smaller than the main box due to advertising and the subwoofers and sound panels. We are definitely one of the top one, two and three, depending on how you measure it in overall terms of scale and quality of our box."

The previous sound system, which fans and administrators alike grew to hate as it was surpassed technologically, was taken down before Friday Night Lights and supplemented with the football program's Elan speakers predominantly used for music at practice.

By the time the season starts, a system featuring multiple high-powered JBL speakers and subwoofers will combine for 250,000 watts of power.

Molina said the new sound system will solve all sound problems once and for all.

But the less visible part of the all-encompassing project is what's going on at the United Spirit Arena. For years, the video board has been controlled inside a control room below the ground level of the arena.

Video is backhauled to the arena over dedicated lines, mixed in the control room for things like replay and graphics and then sent to the video board over dedicated lines. Everything has to be overhauled for the new video board to be high-definition.

"This is now the latest and greatest conversion to a high-definition quality," Molina said.

With a new video board, can Tech afford to shoot off fireworks on top of the former ticket office building?

Yes.

There are two pyrotechnic stages being built behind the video board's support system.

"It's not a couple of guys back there lighting fuses," Molina said. "It's all electronically managed and choreographed with the game day experience much like if you've been to a Rangers game and seen the pyrotechnics during a home run or after game experience. Big times planned for night games here at the Jones."

Lastly, the colonnade and façade is about to go up. You can actually already see some of it on the east side of the support system.

"You'll start seeing that erected in the next 30 days," Molina said. "We're drilling the piers as we speak so you'll get a whole new architectural feel for the north part of the Jones."

To listen to Molina's full interview, click here.






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