VMI Press Box Retooled

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Upgrades Allow For Instant Replay At Football Games

Mary Price wrote this story for VMI.

This spring and summer, the press box overlooking Foster Stadium at Virginia Military Institute underwent its first major renovation and expansion since it was built in 1988.

The $1.7 million project allows the Keydets to have instant replay capability, a Southern Conference requirement for the 2019 season and beyond. With this goal in mind, much of the work focused on the roof, as that’s a prime spot for mounting video cameras. The roof of the renovated press box contains built-in camera platforms accessible by a back stairwell.

“Previously, they set up the cameras on a combination of cinderblocks, tripods, and other things, but now we’re going to have a dedicated platform that sets the cameras above the parapets,” explained Lt. Col. Daren Payne, construction project manager.

The stairwell, he added, allows camera crews to access the roof in a much safer manner – previously, they had to climb up a set of narrow drop-down stairs and through a trap door.

The addition of two goal-line cameras trained on the end zones supports instant replay capabilities as well. One of the cameras is mounted on the concession stand in the east end zone, while the other is mounted on a pole near the end zone closer to Cameron Hall.

Radio announcers, meanwhile, who once braved the elements to report from the roof now have their own space inside the press box. The addition of 950 square feet allows more space for coaches, who oversee the game and make calls from the high vantage point.

“The number of coaches they put in there today is probably double what they put in there in 1995,” said Payne. The space was built for four people, he explained, but a typical game day will see six or seven individuals vying for a spot.

Visitors to the Ferebee Lounge, located the floor below the press box, will likely notice new paint, carpet, and furniture in that area – and workers preparing food for the VIP area now have a dedicated place to do that.

“Previously, [workers] were doing the food prep in the hallways, and had their equipment out in the hall,” said Payne.

But even those who simply drive by on Main Street will notice changes to the press box.

“It’s going to have the same kind of crenellations and stucco material and finish and color as the buildings directly across the street from it,” Payne commented. “It’s going to make a whole different look as you drive in.”

The News-Gazette

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