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Eric Peterson, Published March 13 2012

Peterson: Nemzek Fieldhouse gets $1 million electronic facelift

MOORHEAD - The Dragons are going high definition. Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse is in the process of getting close to a $1 million electronic facelift.

Among the upgrades – two new scoreboards, two new digital message boards, a 144-square foot high def video board, eight scorer’s tables with high def displays and a new sound system.

“Athletics is the front porch of the university and it cleans up our front porch,” MSUM athletic director Doug Peters said.

Peters said the money for the project comes from the university’s repair and restoration fund.

“The school is investing in athletics because it values what we bring to the table,” Peters said.

The improvements come on the heels of a successful winter athletic season for the Dragons that included a breakthrough men’s basketball season. The team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament and won 20 games for the first time since the 1981-82 season.

High definition broadcast equipment, including three HD cameras, is also part of the upgrade. That equipment will allow for HD in-game replays and the ability to produce a live HD feed.

“That quality is what sports fans have become accustomed to, watching their ESPNs and NBC Sports and all that kind of stuff,” said Jon Wepking, MSUM’s interim associate athletic director for media and public relations. “To see that, is a game-changer for us.”

Peters thinks the new digital video boards can be an advertising gamechanger for MSUM. Peters said the new displays have the potential to create around $200,000 in revenue per school year.

That potential income will likely play a role in helping the school add sustainable scholarship dollars to its budget. MSUM offered $580,900 in scholarship money this school year, the equivalent of 42 scholarships.

“It’s awfully exciting,” Peters said.

Peters said the one-time money was used in Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse due to the number of teams that use the facility – the men’s and women’s basketball teams, volleyball, wrestling and track.

Some of the video boards and the new sound system will also be used for school graduation ceremonies, too. The electronics should be completely installed by the end of March.

“We felt this would have the biggest impact on the greatest number of student-athletes,” Peters said. “It also sees the most fans go through it in a year.”

A new basketball floor and new baskets will be added this summer, Peters said, with a price tag of around $150,000. Peters said the current wood floor has been used since the mid-1990s.

“I think this is the first major facelift we’ve done in awhile,” he said. “It’s a big deal because everyone who comes through our facility sees it.”