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Update on stadium improvements

Sound system work starting; new north entrance being added


Lambeau Field's new sound system starts getting installed soon and an additional north-side entrance gate will be constructed next year, the Packers announced on Wednesday.

Also, the stadium's new video boards will now be part of the 2012 north-entrance project in order to save on construction costs.

"The new sound system will be this year, and we think it's going to be a tremendous improvement for our fans," President/CEO Mark Murphy said. "This will continue to build upon our great gameday experience, something we take a lot of pride in."

Installation of the new sound system is slated to begin in May, with cranes becoming visible outside the stadium while they assist with the construction of 16 speaker enclosures around the roof. The new speakers will change Lambeau's audio technology from a single-point system clustered in the north scoreboard to a distributed system designed to deliver sound more evenly and clearly throughout the stadium bowl.

"The main idea is to bring the source of the sound closer to the listener," said Wayne Wichlacz, the Packers' director of information technology. "From the fans' perspective, the sound will be clearer, and we won't have as many problems with echoes as we've had in the past."

Each speaker enclosure on the roof will be approximately 6 feet wide and 7 feet tall and, in a general sense, fans in any given section will be as close to a set of speakers as fans in any other section. That's a major improvement over the old system, which left fans in the south end zone more than 100 yards away from the clustered speakers in the north scoreboard.

The distributed system, integrated by Pro Media Ultrasound, will mitigate any effects the weather – particularly the wind – has on the sound quality as well, Wichlacz said. Updates to the sound systems in the indoor club seats and in the Legends Club areas are also part of the project, which is being managed and designed by Anthony James Partners. As with the full stadium renovation back in 2003, Hammes Co. will oversee all the construction.

"The PA announcer, the referees' mikes, the music – all the sound elements are important and we want to make sure they're the best they can be," Wichlacz said.

Installation is scheduled to be completed around mid-July, making it available for the annual shareholders' meeting and "Family Night" scrimmage.

The new video boards, meanwhile, are coming in 2012 along with a new north-side entrance gate on Lombardi Avenue.

The new gate will provide club-seat and suite patrons with direct access to their designated areas and should help facilitate gameday traffic flow at the stadium's two busiest gates – the Oneida Nation gate on the east side and the Miller gate to the Atrium along Lombardi.

"This will help our club-seat and suite holders get to their seats more easily and efficiently," Murphy said. "Our fans using other entrances will definitely notice that benefit as well."

The new video boards will feature high-definition displays that are as large as the existing scoreboards plus the surrounding advertising panels – growing to four times their current size. Manufactured by Mitsubishi and from the company's Diamond Vision series, the video boards will include state-of-the-art LED technology that equals the best available in professional sports stadiums today.

"We are honored to participate in a project at one of the most legendary stadiums in the NFL," said Todd Stih, national sales manager for Mitsubishi's Diamond Vision systems. "The new HD display system being installed will provide a tremendous gameday experience for the fans, providing vivid HD images and gameday content on a massive scale."

Because construction of the new north-side gate in 2012 will require the north scoreboard to be raised, the new video boards have been made part of that project. This way, the new video boards won't be installed in 2011 only to have to be moved one year later, saving on the overall costs.

The south end zone is on deck to be renovated sometime in 2013 or beyond, and its new video board will already be in a position to accommodate the project, so it won't have to be moved post-installation either.

"We really wanted to have them up as soon as possible, but as we looked into it further, it made sense to coordinate everything," Murphy said. "From a fiscal standpoint, we're saving money, and also from an aesthetic standpoint, we're making sure it all ties together."

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