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Eric Peterson, Published January 09 2013

VIDEO: MSUM installs new basketball court at Alex Nemzek Hall

MOORHEAD - Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse had a scent much like a shop class Wednesday. The smell of the fresh wood and stain from the newly installed basketball court permeated the air.

“When people see that floor, they are going to be pretty impressed,” said Minnesota State Moorhead head women’s basketball coach Karla Nelson.

The court, along with new baskets and padded courtside seats, cost around $150,000, said MSUM athletic director Doug Peters.

“Our focus was creating the best game environment that we possibly could and I think we are starting to do that,” Peters said. “So when the fan comes, it’s the true fan experience. It’s not just the basketball game. It’s a basketball game in a place that looks fun.”

The fieldhouse facelift started near the end of last school year.

Last spring, MSUM got an electronics upgrade for Nemzek that cost around $1 million. Improvements included new scoreboards, digital message boards, a high-definition video board, scorer’s tables and a new sound system.

“My mom likes the new video boards,” Nelson said. “When my mom likes it, you know it must be good. She’s a tough critic.”

The new court features a massive Dragons logo at midcourt. Most of the logo is defined with wood stain. The fire is red paint. The new basket standards sit farther off the playing surface, allowing more room under the basket on the baselines.

The outline of the entire court uses the same shade of stain that is used in the Dragons logo.

“I think it’s somewhat old school,” said Dragons head men’s basketball coach Chad Walthall. “There is not a lot of paint on it. I like it with the clean look.”

The previous wood court in Nemzek was installed for the 1995-96 season.

That court was the same one used for the 1995 NCAA Division I women’s basketball Final Four in Minneapolis. Connecticut beat Tennessee in the 1995 national championship game that was held in the Target Center.

“It was hard to see the other floor go,” Nelson said. “To me, that was 17 years of lots of memories.”

The Dragons will officially unveil their new playing surface on Jan. 15. That’s when they host a doubleheader against Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference rival Northern State.

“It’s our travel partner,” Peters said of the Wolves. “It’s a big game. We felt that was a great time to unveil everything.”

The Dragons also have a new HoverCam, which will be used during game day and will help provide unique camera angles for highlights.

“The athletic department has gone through so much transformational change in the last five years that people can’t see,” Peters said. “It’s fun to get to the stuff that people can see.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com