Radford University Sporting Venue Gets a High-Tech Makeover

  • RADFORD, VA--Founded in 1910, Radford University celebrates its centennial anniversary this year as one of the state's most vibrant and well-respected colleges. The school's Highlanders basketball team boasts an enviable Division I NCAA record, and the team's potential NBA first-round draft pick has sparked national and local attention, easily filling the 5,000-seat Dedmon Center.
  • When it opened its doors in 1981, the Dedmon Center was among the first venues in the United States to boast a then-futuristic air-supported roof. The Center recently underwent a major renovation that included a new steel-reinforced roof, new basketball court, new LED video scoreboards and broadcast capabilities, and an audio system utilizing Community Professional Loudspeakers' Solutions Series loudspeakers.
  • "It's a great place to see a game, but the sound system was always something of an afterthought," says Tom Gallaher, president of Alcoa, Tennessee-based Gallaher and Associates. As Gallaher observes, the cavernous space is large enough to easily hold triple its current seating capacity, and has long suffered from challenging acoustics.
  • The new sound system utilizes 22 Community SLS920 three-way full-range loudspeakers to cover the entire main seating area and the adjacent volleyball courts. Eight i215LVS dual 15-inch subwoofers deliver 36,000 Watts of low-frequency punch, and six i2W8 two-way boxes provide additional front fill coverage.
  • "Our goal was to design a system that could create an NBA-level environment," says Gallaher of the new system. "That means serious sound, with powerful bass and great intelligibility everywhere. We've used the Community SLS boxes on other projects and knew they could deliver that level of performance. We also knew we could count on Community for great support in ensuring the benchmark of our system designs."
  • The installation also includes dual video scoreboards integrating player statistics, time and multiple camera feeds with three angles of instant replay. Crestron touch panels provide control of the system, streamlining many of the more complex operations. "One of the biggest challenges in providing the Center with such an advanced system was the fact that they had limited resources available to operate its features," says Gallaher. "Once you bring in LED video boards with the capability to incorporate time, player stats, instant replay and more, it requires considerably more manpower to run those features." Gallaher's partner firm, Capturion Network, manufactured the LED video boards, video server and shot clocks.
  • With the athletic department's limited technical staff, it was necessary to create a user-friendly system to automate many of the operations. "For example," says Gallaher, "when time is not limited prior to tip-off, they can insert audio files for the starting lineups, set up lighting effects, select intro music and video, creating a fully automated player introduction sequence at the touch of a button." Computers elsewhere in the facility can also operate the system, to eliminate the need for access to the control room for team practices and other events.