August 9, 2009 12:07:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- The Humphrey Coliseum at Mississippi State is going through some changes.
In the past few weeks, new lighting has been installed and upgraded in the arena and a new arrangement of banners has been put in place.
Renovations to the women''s basketball locker room recently were completed, and the men''s locker room is being refurbished.
The installation of a new basketball court with new MSU marks and logos is another piece of the athletic department''s $2.1 million investment to enhance all of the facilities on campus.
The decision on the logo that will be used for the center of the court was to be finalized in a survey conducted on MSU''s athletic Web site. There were three design choices, the M-State logo, the M-State logo with the new bulldog, and the word mark Mississippi State.
After the survey was completed, a close vote determined the word mark logo would be used.
Mississippi State Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs Scott Stricklin said nearly 10,000 people voted in the poll.
He had no expectations going into the process, but thought it was a great response.
"It shows a lot of interest in not only basketball, but Mississippi State," Stricklin said. "All three of the options got a lot of support, and there wasn''t a clear winner, so to speak."
Stricklin said the fans couldn''t have gone wrong with any of the choices.
"I like the new markings and new logos," Stricklin said. "I think they give us as good of an identity as we''ve ever had. We''ve never had a word mark that was really designed for athletics, and the one that is going to be at midcourt is going to be that."
Stricklin said many schools claim to be MSU (Michigan State and Murray State for example) and the word State itself is used by several schools.
A logo with the words "Mississippi State" spelled out gives the school its own look.
"It makes it clear to everyone who it is," Stricklin said. "That word Mississippi is such a unique word, and there''s really not another school that uses that word in their branding, so it''s great it''s going to be on television, and will be great exposure for our brand, our mark and our image."
After putting down the floor last Friday, sanding, refinishing, and repainting the court began Monday.
MSU Coordinator of Event Management and Facilities Jay Logan said it takes three weeks to complete the project. He hopes the court will be ready by the Aug. 21 weekend. A women''s coaching clinic is scheduled for that weekend.
Logan said the work could have started earlier in the summer, but there were basketball camps to consider.
"It''s really been kind of a challenge with the camp issue," Logan said. "There were templates that had to be made since they are new logos, so that process took a little more time than it normally would if we were just doing the refinish, but this is a complete sand-down to the wood, refinish, and repaint with everything."
Covington Flooring Company of Birmingham, Ala., is overseeing the repainting of the court. It has been doing work at Humphrey Coliseum since the wooden floor has been purchased.
Tommy Ellison, of Covington, doesn''t see any problem meeting the Aug. 21 deadline, but he said the project will take time.
He said the floor has to be sanded to the bare wood, sealed, and coated with a clear finish. The lines then have to be applied with the logos. Two coats of clear finish are applied over those markings.
"It''s a multi-step process that can''t be rushed because there is drying time associated before you can go back in with the next coats," Ellison said.
Ellison anticipates the floor, which is 60 feet by 120 feet, will be dry and ready to go when the teams are ready to use it.
"They''ll have a new look and hopefully a hot new team playing on it," Ellison said.
The cost of putting down and redesigning the court is $20,000, while the banners cost $14,000 and the lighting costs $225,000.
Mississippi State Associate Athletic Director for Event Management and Facilities Bobby Tomlinson said the savings on utilities will be worth the cost of adjusting the new lights.
"We will save about $12,00-$15,000 per year on energy cost," Tomlinson said. "What we''ll get back in television and high-definition revenue also will help ease the price of the project. We''re excited about what we can save, but it will also give us better quality lighting.
Atwell and Jent were the electrical engineers for the lights, and Tripplett Electric was the contractor that installed the lights. Payne Sparkman of Indiana managed the computer software..
Fourteen banners have been put in above the court to replace the ones that surrounded the scoreboard. The banners recognize the accomplishments of the men''s and women''s teams.
The men''s banners for SEC Championships, NCAA accomplishments, the Sweet 16, and Final Four are on one side of the scoreboard in rows, while the women''s banners are on the other side. Bailey Howell''s retired jersey will remain.
Mississippi State officials don''t plan to have an official unveiling of the coliseum changes.