Facility upgrades enhance ISU events

3 July 2017

Over the past year, a number of key facility improvements have been made to the event venues at Idaho State University to improve both energy efficiency and the visitor experience.

The latest project, a LED lighting upgrade in the ASISU Holt Arena, began last week and is on target to be completed prior to the fall football season. The original arena lighting systems of quartz and metal halide will be replaced with a Euphasus LED Stadium Pro Sports Lighting system. The new system requires 62 percent less electricity, and will result in substantial cost savings. In addition, the maintenance cycle for the new LED fixtures is more than 30 years. This will reduce annual costs for bulb and ballast replacement. The new lighting system will also improve the quality of light in the arena by increasing the lumen output level with a more even distribution. When the project is completed, Holt Area will have 25 percent higher lighting output, which will meet NCAA requirements for televising arena football games.

The total replacement cost of the project is $536,000, and it is being funded by parking and facility improvement fees, University funding and an Idaho Power incentive rebate. Within five years, the University is expected to see a return on the investment.

To improve our visitors’ experience at Holt Arena, we have also renovated and remodeled the restrooms on both sides of the facility, and, in large part due to a gift the Idaho Potato Commission, added a video scoreboard to the arena. Thanks to a gift from Idaho Central Credit Union, television hall monitors have been added for uninterrupted viewing. The IT network infrastructure has also been upgraded, and an access management component was added to the computerized ticketing system.

The new video scoreboard is a $344,000 high definition screen that broadcasts live video, instant replay and pre-produced videos. Sponsor ads, logos, videos, DVD’s and animation can also be displayed in full color. Recently, the videoboard was a major focal point in the production of the “Cultural Celebration,” which was viewed by over 22,000 people inside the Holt Arena and thousands more via the internet.

Robust internet service is a vital component of event production. From streaming live events, to posting athletics results, a high-speed web connection is a necessity. Network cabling, switches, fiber optics, distribution cabinets and 85 wireless access points have been added in the Holt Arena to accommodate event and spectators needs.

Additionally, the men and women’s restrooms received a major remodel. New water lines replaced the original 1970 galvanized piping, along with new sewer lines, overhead lighting, tile work and painting. A new access management addition incorporates a ticket scanning system, and it allows customers the option to print their event tickets at home. This implementation will reduce operational costs while providing a simplified service for the event goer.

Seven television monitors have been added to the north and south hallways near the concession stands. Live event streaming is now produced for ISU athletic events, high school football regular season and playoff games, the Simplot Games, ISU commencement, high school graduations and other special events.

In addition to improvements at Holt Arena, the Stephens Performing Arts Center’s Joseph C. and Cheryl H. Jensen Grand Concert Hall has also received two major upgrades. A new state-of-the art sound system was installed last fall. The Martin Audio multi-cellular loudspeaker array sound system is the most cutting-edge, new technology available. With Martin Audio’s breakthrough cellular drive technology, patrons can enjoy a much better experience than they’ve previously ever had. This new system is controlled by sophisticated software and can be programmed to best fit the size of the audience and the type of music or production being performed.

One fascinating feature of the system is the evenness and clarity of the sound. The decibel level at the performance stage is within 2 dB of the level of the back row seating in the hall. Suzy Bogguss, a renowned country music vocalist, who recently performed in the venue as part of the Season of Note entertainment series, stated that the sound quality in Jensen Hall was the best she experienced in all of her shows during 2016. There isn’t a comparable system in the entire northwestern United States. The quality of cultural offerings and ability to attract top quality performers has been enhanced by the upgrade. ISU owes a special thanks to the Bistline Foundation Board of Trustees for their contribution to the project.

A new LED overhead stage lighting system has also been added to the Jensen Grand Concert Hall. Sixty-four ETC d60 LED fixtures have been installed over the stage. The new lighting system replaces the conventional lighting that was originally installed when the facility was built. The LED fixtures use 75 percent less power, generate much less heat and are more versatile as they can be controlled remotely allowing color changes at any time during a show. This capability improves the quality of each show and spectator experience. The combined cost of the sound and lighting systems was more than $500,000.

ISU is committed to enhancing the experience for those who visit campus and attend our events. Upgrades to our facilities would not be possible without the support of generous gifts and community attendance. Whether it’s better lighting, enhanced audio or remodeled venues, ISU is prepared for the opportunities of tomorrow.

George Casper is the director of events at Idaho State University, a position he’s held since 2005. As events director, Casper is responsible for planning, directing, facilitating and promoting events in a number of venues at ISU. Casper is a 1986 graduate of ISU, and was previously the Holt Arena director from 1991 to 1995.