The project will consist of an impressive new scoreboard, three LED ribbon displays on the east and west balconies, and one underneath the scoreboard in the south end zone. A smaller display is planned to be installed on the north wall of the southeast tower for fans who can't see the main one. A new sound system will also be installed. The main scoreboard will measure 125 feet, 9.8 inches wide by 54 feet, 3.7 inches tall. This is appreciably larger than the current scoreboard that measures 48 by 68 feet.
The current scoreboard and sound system were installed during an upgrade that took place prior to the 2002 season when the University of Illinois was preparing to host the Chicago Bears during the Soldier Field renovation. It was originally located in the north end zone but was moved to the south end in 2008 following Memorial Stadium's own remodel.
"It [the current scoreboard] is really on its last legs" said DIA spokesman Kent Brown, who went on to describe it as being held together by baling wire. It was undergoing repairs weekly, and specially trained staff was on hand for the duration of the 2012 football season in case something went wrong. "Those boards go through so much with the weather. And after over 10 years, it takes a pounding."
The university awarded the contract to South Dakota-based Daktronics following its approval by the UI board of trustees. According to the project time line the upgrades should be installed and tested by July 15, 2013. The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics plans to finance the project through advertising revenue.
**Photo courtesy of Dan O'Brien of Illinois Loyalty.
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