NORMAN — Oklahoma's football and basketball games may soon be not only live, but large and in high-definition. That's the ultimate goal of a $10.3 million plan recommended by OU president David Boren to the school's board of regents to upgrade the video boards and sound system at Memorial Stadium and Lloyd Noble Center. The plan, involving a contract with South Dakota-based Daktronics, Inc., is expected to be approved today, when the board of regents concludes its meeting in Oklahoma City. A video board for the south end zone at Memorial Stadium is the focus of the major bulk of the funds — $4.82 million — a project that would be completed for the 2008 season. More immediate, $2.16 million is pegged for improvements to the north end zone, while $3.12 million is earmarked for upgrades at Lloyd Noble — all to be in place for next season. The new video boards would all be high-definition ready, although they will require HD cameras, which are not part of this plan. "The existing boards have been in place for 10 years,” OU associate athletic director Kenny Mossman said. "Technology has advanced and changed, and we have a lot more at our disposal now to provide more for our fans and sponsors.” Players, too. "You don't want to be caught looking up there, but sometimes you do peek to see what you've been doing,” Sooner safety Reggie Smith said. "And on the sideline, we're usually getting an earful of coach-stuff, which means we can't stand up and watch the game. So we're over there watching on the Jumbotron.” The upgrades will be performed in three phases: Phase 1 (Completion date Aug 3): The main features involve a new LED football video board for the north end zone and video ribbon boards for the east and west upper deck fascia. The ribbon boards will run 100 yards — longer than the ones currently in place. Cost: $2.16 million. Phase 2 (Completion date Oct. 5): A video and audio overhaul of Lloyd Noble Center, featuring four new LED video boards, eight upper ring LED panels and two 360-degree LED information boards to be sold to sponsors. Four new hustle boards for the four corners, north and south scoreboards as well as a new $476,000 sound system are also part of the plan. Cost: $3.12 million. Phase 3 (Completion date Aug. 1, 2008): A new LED video board in the Memorial Stadium south end zone. A near-$300,000 sound system is also planned. Cost: $4.82 million. An additional charge pushing the plan total to $10.3 million might be necessary to finalize installation. OU's new south end zone board won't rival the massive units recently installed at Texas and Texas A&M. At OU, the new board will occupy the same space as the current model, yet will be all video board. The dimensions are not yet available. When the current board was installed in 1997, it was considered cutting edge. The next one, which will be computerized, is also considered state of the art.
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