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August 29, 2011
By Staff Report
Technology and energy efficiency have changed dramatically over the 25-plus years since the Lawlor Events Center sign at North Virginia and 15th Streets was installed. A replacement sign, recently constructed in the same location, improves communication capability, readability and energy efficiency, and better marks what has become the primary entrance to the University’s main campus.
Revenue from Lawlor Events Center and the Joe Crowley Student Union funded the replacement sign; no state funds were allocated to the project.
Passersby had noticed the former sign’s declining readability which was due to the increasing failure of its operating system failure. This also caused its light bulbs to burn out faster.
“A full system failure could occur at any time, which would have left a tremendous void in our marketing efforts and for those who use the sign for announcements and directions,” said Ann Larson, director of Lawlor Events Center.
“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 former sign utilized more than 100,000 bulbs, while the replacement sign features 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 the LED application will decrease energy usage by 50 percent during daylight hours and by 75 percent during evening hours. An automatic dimming feature keeps the projected images from shining too brightly, and the sign automatically turns 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.
With its brick pillars, the new sign visually ties to the architecture of nearby campus buildings. It will be incorporated into the University’s emergency communication plan, as it provides the ability to project important messages on a moment’s notice.