Replays shown to fans will be clearer next season at the Kohl Center, and they’ll be available at the Field House for the first time.
Both University of Wisconsin athletics venues are scheduled to get new video boards and sound systems installed over the summer.
The “vast majority” of an $8 million pool for major capital projects slated for the 2017-18 athletics budget will go toward the new equipment, associate athletic director for business operations Mario Morris said Wednesday after a meeting of the Athletic Board’s Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee.
At the Kohl Center, home to Badgers men’s and women’s basketball and men’s hockey, the existing center-hung structure installed in 2004 features eight boards — four for scoring and low-resolution graphics, and four for standard-definition video.
There is no video screen at the Field House, where the volleyball and wrestling teams compete under a four-sided scoreboard, installed in 1997, that displays only basic scoring data.
“What we’re putting into those facilities will be state-of-the-art,” said Jason King, UW’s senior associate athletic director for capital projects. “It’ll be the clearest, highest definition that the company that we’re dealing with has. They’ll be really sharp.”
A contract is close to being finalized and the video boards are still in the design phase, King said. He told the committee that the Kohl Center also will get updated display panels on the face of the second level and above floor-level tunnels.
The athletic department, meanwhile, will unveil a new plan for the future of its facilities at the next meeting of the full Athletic Board on Jan. 20.
The most recent facility master plan, released in 2007, included ideas for projects that eventually turned into LaBahn Arena — the home for Badgers women’s hockey — and the Student Athlete Performance Center on the north end of Camp Randall Stadium.
This version, which covers the next 10 to 15 years, will assess all UW athletics facilities and address future needs for programs, King told the committee.
Among the details will be clarity on further upgrades for the Field House, which has reached its spectator capacity of 6,012 often in recent volleyball seasons because the upper deck is closed for matches.
The balcony can’t be used until it’s brought up to code in regard to the height of railings and the need for kickboards to fill the gaps between the seats and floorboards, UW officials have said.
King said the athletic department isn’t neglecting the potential to increase capacity for volleyball but is focusing on other priorities first.
The top one, he said, was a new team locker room suite that was constructed last year for $1.5 million.
“We’ve heard that the sound system and a video board not only are important to our fans but are important to our program and where the program needs to be,” King said. “And so we’re going to make an investment there.
“Is the upper deck going to get done at some point? Yeah, I’m sure it will.”