Note: Special Thanks To Big Rapids Pioneer For Contributing To This Story
Big Rapids, Mich. - Fans attending Ferris State University football home contests this fall at Top Taggart Field will find a noticeable change within the stadium.
Recently, the Ferris State board of trustees approved the purchase of a new Daktronics scoreboard and sound system for the facility, which will include a video board. The new board will replace the previous system that dated back to the 1980's and is expected to be up and functioning by the Bulldogs' home opener versus Lake Erie on Sept. 14 with the sound and video in place prior to the homecoming matchup versus Saginaw Valley State on Oct. 5.
The new scoreboard will stand 29 feet, nine inches tall by 25 feet wide and feature a video display board eight-feet, nine inches tall by 15-feet wide. The board also include a sound display six-feet tall by eight-feet wide.
"From the fan experience to our student-athletes and a recruiting perspective, this has been a need for a long time," said FSU Associate Athletics Director Jon Coles. "The upside and possibilities for this technology are endless. We now have the opportunity to promote sports like volleyball and hockey, as well as grow our inventory and sponsorships with the signage on the board to help increase revenue."
The board will provide advertising opportunities for the university five sponsor panels, three feet by five feet below the scoreboard and two five-foot by eight-foot, nine-inch sponsor panels on each side of the video display.
The funding for the project will come from a reserve fund within the physical plant budget and the Office of Administration and Finance with advertising revenue eventually expected to help the project pay for itself. The project has been a priority for the athletics department since the arrival of Athletics Director Perk Weisenburger in September 2010.
Coles said the possibilities for generating revenue are endless with the new scoreboard, but the new technology also will put FSU on par or above competing schools in Division II in providing an entertaining gameday experience.
"It's an important piece of the game," he said. "Many fans have their eyes on the scoreboard as often as the game, so it's a great marketing tool for us."
Coles credited the Ferris State Physical Plant and its director of operations Mark Eichenberg — which leads a number of construction projects around the FSU campus — for leading the effort to add to the excitement for the upcoming football season, which kicks off against two-time defending FCS National Champion North Dakota State on Sept. 7.
"After all of the excitement with the recruiting class they've brought in, along with scheduling North Dakota State, this was kind of the icing on the cake," Coles said. "We're heading into a season where the hype might be at an all-time high. I couldn't be more excited and we couldn't do this without the help of the physical plant and others involved in this project."