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May 16, 2011
By Jane Tors
Technology and energy efficiency have changed dramatically over the 25+ years since the Lawlor Events Center sign at North Virginia and 15th Streets was installed. A replacement sign will soon be constructed in the same location, bringing with it the benefits of improved communication capability, readability and energy efficiency, and better marking what has become the primary entrance to the University's main campus.
Revenue from Lawlor Events Center and the Joe Crowley Student Union will fund the replacement sign; no state funds will be allocated to the project.
Passersby have noticed the sign's declining readability. The problem is the current sign's failing operating system, which impedes readability and also causes its light bulbs to burn out faster.
"There is some urgency to this since the current Lawlor sign is experiencing a sharp increase of system failure which is negatively impacting programmed messages," said Ann Larson, director of Lawlor Events Center. "A full system failure could occur at any time, which would leave a tremendous void in our marketing efforts and for those who use the sign for announcements and directions.
"We are especially excited to join with the Joe Crowley Student Union team to use the sign to promote our great campus activities and more fully engage both the University community and the surrounding neighborhood in these opportunities," said Larson.
The current sign utilizes more than 100,000 bulbs, while the replacement sign will feature a more energy-efficient LED color screen with the capability to transmit video, pictures, scrolling messages or a combination of these elements. It is estimated that an LED application will decrease energy usage by 50 percent during daylight hours and by 75 percent during evening hours. An automatic dimming feature will keep the projected images from shining too brightly, and the sign will automatically turn off late at night to be respectful of the surrounding neighborhood.
"With the improved energy efficiency plus no longer having the cost of bulb replacement, we anticipate a nice return on our investment in this sign," said Larson.
The new sign will feature the Nevada "N" and its brick pillars will visually tie to the architecture of nearby campus buildings. The sign will be incorporated into the University's emergency communication plan, as it provides the ability to project important messages on a moment's notice.
Construction on the new sign begins in May and will be completed this summer.