The new video board will be located at the north end of O’Shaughnessy Stadium. Construction on the new board will begin during the last week in July and will be finished in time for the first football game on Sept. 8. (Hannah Anderson/TommieMedia)
The game-day experience at O’Shaughnessy Stadium will have a big-time feel this fall with the addition of a video board that costs almost $1 million.
The board, which measures 27 feet 11 inches tall by 48 feet 5 inches wide, will show replays, video clips, advertisements and more. It will sit on top of the block wall at the stadium’s north end on the St. Paul campus. The original scoreboard will remain at the south end.
Mark Vangsgard, vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer, said the board was paid for by a large group of anonymous donors. He said that since none of them contributed more than 50 percent of the funding, the board will not be dedicated to anyone.
“There was a wide range of energy surrounding it, and donors wanted to make it happen,” Vangsgard said.
It will be the largest Division III stadium video board.
Vangsgard estimates the board will cost $900,000 to $950,000, depending on how much money is needed to complete the installation. He said the university wants to make the stadium feel like a bowl by planting pine trees on both sides of the board and extra pillars.
Some students believe the new board is needed, while others do not.
“I think it’s necessary, for sure the scoreboard on that end. It’ll enclose the stadium. I think it’ll look sweet, and it will attract more prospects,” senior Wes Willemsen said. “The people that donated money … it’s cool that they take pride in the place they went to school.”
But senior Brett Leverson said, “I don’t think it is necessary, but they are going to do what they want to do with the money. If they are going to do it, they might as well do it nicely. It’ll attract more fans.”
Senior Joel Downes thinks the board will make games more intense.
“It will help those who are at one end of the field and want to see what is going on at the other end,” Downes said. “I think they should use the screen for more than just football games. There are a lot of things it could be used for.”
Beyond football, Vangsgard said the board will be used for track meets and other St. Thomas community events such as commencement.
“Wouldn’t it be cool to see the graduates marching into the stadium on the screen and having the big screen focusing on the handshakes with the archbishop, or Father Dease, or whoever is handing out diplomas that day,” Vangsgard said.
The board is scheduled to make its debut Sept. 8 when the football team plays the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
“We went from being a doormat for football nationally to being one of the premier teams around. That also gets people pumped up to donate,” Vangsgard said.
Hannah Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.