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Surprise stadium to get display board upgrade

Posted November 21, 2013

The Kansas City Royals meet the Chicago White Sox in a 2012 spring training game at Surprise Stadium, 15930 N. Bullard Ave., (Independent Newsmedia, Inc., USA, photo by Jeff Grant) By Jeff Grant Independent Newsmedia, Inc., USA Updated November 20, 2013 Other projects include more energy-efficient concourse, clubhouse lighting SURPRISE -- A previously approved concessions contract for Surprise Stadium will pay dividends for spectators watching the scoreboard at Surprise Stadium in time for the upcoming spring training season. The City Council last week approved the use of $507,000 from a previously authorized contract with Philadephia-based Aramark for upgrades to the 10-year-old scoreboard, including a larger display screen and updated technology. Workers will replace the current video display board with an LED video board that will add 10 feet to the board from top to bottom. The current board is 18 feet tall and 23 feet wide. The new display will include a main board of 31 feet wide by 18 feet tall with an auxiliary board 36 feet wide by 9.5 feet tall, stated Community and Recreation Services Director Mark Coronado in an e-mail. “We’ll have a bigger picture,” Mr. Coronado told the City Council during a presentation at the council’s Nov. 5 workshop. Spectators will see video displays across much of the middle of the board along with the score, including runs, hits and errors and the tally for each inning. Operators will have the ability to enlarge the viewing area by temporarily removing the line score at any time. New equipment and software will also aid the hearing impaired. The scoreboard was updated and retrofitted once, in 2006. The latest improvements will give operators greater control of the equipment and software, Mr. Coronado noted. “It really gives us a lot of flexibility in the press box,” he said, noting the outdated features of the current board. “I call it the dinosaur of the city. It’s an LED board. It basically has three light bulbs and when one goes out, the board goes out. This is technology that was used in the early 2000s.” The present configuration of static ads will remain in place to accommodate requests from advertisers, the CRS director said. “We initially anticipated the whole board as one big LED,” he explained. The board is manufactured and maintained by Daktronics, considered the industry leader in scoreboard and video displays, noted Dist. 5 Councilman Leo Mankiewicz. Mr. Coronado said the improvements should be complete by Feb. 10, the date of the 2014 Surprise Sports Festival, an annual tournament featuring college baseball teams. This year, both Arizona and Arizona State universities were among the participants. An owner’s contingency of $50,000 was tacked on to the project price to cover unforeseen issues with electronics or infrastructure, Mr. Coronado added. As part of the measure approving use of the Aramark monies, the council agreed to transfer $507,000 from the city’s grants and contingency fund to the stadium improvement fund. The larger scoreboard display is just one stadium improvement slated in 2014. Replacement of existing lights throughout the concourse and other indoor areas, including the team clubhouses, will take place following the conclusion of spring training 2014 from April through June, said Department of Public Works Sustainability Division Manager Terry Lowe. The council Nov. 12 approved a $90,000 purchasing contract through a cooperative to buy new, higher energy-efficiency bulbs and lights for areas throughout the stadium, excluding field lighting. “Annual estimated cost savings will be $30,341,” Mr. Lowe told the governing body during a Nov. 5 workshop presentation. That figure includes $26,590 in savings on energy and $3,751 on operation and maintenance. An estimated 204,074 kwH will be saved per year, he added. The contract with U.S. Energy Services of Scottsdale will cost the city no more than $90,000. APS retrofitting rebates and the fact some of the materials were previously bought by city officials will bring down the original $195,917 price tag by $105,917 -- $48,882 for the rebates and $57,829 for previously purchased material, said Mr. Lowe. The equipment is expected to pay for itself in 4.8 years, with the fixtures expected to last between 15 and 20 years, he said. The estimated future savings will be $260,000 over 10 years, although the DPW official noted that presumes current electric rates almost surely will rise during that period, offered Dist. 5 Councilman Leo Mankiewicz. The new lights and equipment include 84 175W metal halides with 125W induction lights and photo sensors, 220 400-watt lights with 216 high output, T-5 fluorescent bulbs for batting cages, along with sensors to activate lights only when in use for each batting lane. Energy-efficient ballasts and new lamps will be added to existing fluorescent fixtures. News editor Jeff Grant can be reached at or 623-445-2805.