Randy Speer, Reporter
Christmas has arrived a few days early for the Ralph Nolan Gymnasium and the teams that use it. Two new scoreboards and a video monitor have been installed in the facility.
The installation took place Wednesday through Friday.
The new scoreboards and video monitor are the third part of a 4-stage plan to renovate the 17 year-old gymnasium. Men’s basketball coach Ryan Moody and athletic director Charlie Gartenmayer spearheaded the third phase of the plan.
“I firmly believe that when I got this job it wasn’t just about coaching, it was also about helping the program as much as possible,” Moody said.
The Ralph Nolan Gymnasium was built in 1997 and still contains a majority of its original parts.
The four-step plan to improve the facility included new lights, a sound system, scoreboards and eventually new seating. The lights and sound system were installed last year.
The scoreboard is a 3-piece Daktronics setup, including a primary and secondary scoreboard, along with a 10 by 8 feet video monitor.
The primary scoreboard includes the entire standard feature, plus a board that will feature the current players on the floor for both teams with their point and foul totals. The secondary scoreboard shows similar features as the old scoreboards with a fresh look.
Moody and Gartenmayer said the new scoreboards are “top of the line” and fully compatible with volleyball and wrestling.
“It falls in line with what we are trying to do institutionally, taking a look at ourselves and continuing to improve our facilities,” Gartenmayer said.
The new scoreboards light up on the north and south ends of the court. The primary scoreboard hangs on the south wall, while the secondary scoreboard and the video board are on the north end.
“Traditionally, in a basketball court the scoreboards are on the ends, ours (were) on the sides,” Moody said. “That’s one thing that drove me nuts, I didn’t like that and I want to make it more basketball like.”
Women’s basketball coach Chad Folsom shared Moody’s sentiment.
“Finally we are going to have scoreboards where they are supposed to be, on the end,” he said.
The odd location of the former scoreboards fit more with the original purpose of the gymnasium than its current use.
Sports Information Director Josh Pound said that the gym was originally created to serve as both a varsity gym and as a recreational center. In its former configuration, both scoreboards could be operated independently. That feature has been used once since 2008, Pound said.
The LED video monitor – placed on the north wall – is the most anticipated feature.
Moody said that it would look better than most of the televisions in people’s homes. He hopes the broadcasting classes and marketing department can come together to help maximize the monitor’s potential.
“This is about game environment,” Moody said. “I want this to be the best facility for recruiting, for our fans and for our current players.”
The newest improvement is meant to bring an arena feel to the gym.
Moody explained the sell for this third phase of the project:
“When you walk on to Benedictine’s campus right now everyone says, ‘Wow. This place is nice.’ When you walk into our gym right now you don’t say wow. That’s the goal here. We don’t want it to be extravagant. We want it to be a nice facility.”
Pound will be in charge of the new system along with Michael Faucett, assistant athletic director.
Pound said that he expects to get trained with the new scoreboards, shortly after they’re installed. He hopes to have a working knowledge of the system by the next home game, a men’s contest against Bethel College on Jan. 3.
Pound doesn’t expect to be able to use all the “bells and whistles” of the new system this season, but hopes to be close by the 2015-’16 seasons.
Moody said that fundraising for new seating will begin in the spring.
“Internally, we continually analyze facilities athletically and what are ways we can continue to upgrade,” Gartenmayer said. “It’s a similar philosophy that is taking place across the institution.”