Podcast w/Bennett Liles: UGA's Sanford Stadium Gets a Total Upgrade from TSAV – Part 2 - Sound & Video Contractor

Podcast w/Bennett Liles: UGA's Sanford Stadium Gets a Total Upgrade from TSAV – Part 2

Sound system upgrade for the Georgia Bulldogs’ Sanford Stadium
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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

From Sound & Video Contractor Magazine, this is the SVC Podcast with Pete Dugas of TSAV. Show notes for the podcast are available on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at svconline.com.

The Georgia Bulldogs pack over ninety thousand fans into Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia and that’s no time for power or sound problems. They called TSAV, Technical Services Audio-Visual in Athens to completely revamp power and sound. Pete Dugas is going to take us through the sound system upgrade right now on the SVC Podcast.

Pete, thanks for joining us again for part two on the SVC Podcast from TSAV, Technical Services Audio-Visual in Athens, Georgia. We’re talking about a big sound and power upgrade for Sanford Stadium, home of the Georgia Bulldogs. The place is really jumping during games with over ninety thousand fans there and you don’t want power or sound problems with all that going on. TSAV did a complete revamp this summer on all of that. As part of the power protection upgrade, did you have to make any changes to the existing electrical system in the stadium?

The existing infrastructure was the limitation. That is the pipes to get us from Point A to Point B were not going to change. The project timeline didn’t allow for us to modify any of that, so the locations where we could get at solid, clean quantities of power that we needed were fixed and that affected the design approach. Once we understood that limitation we knew that we had to make some significant modifications to what power was where so we changed out panels and provided new feeders and got the power where we needed it to be. [Timestamp: 1:50]

We talked in part one about the timeline on this project. You had to be done and have everything up and running by mid-August for the football games to start.

Yep. Hard stop. No question about that. We knew that we had that solid deadline and in advance of being given that notice to proceed by the owner we were nervous each day – each day that there was another day we had to wait before we could get started. It was difficult. [Timestamp: 2:15]

What would you say is the most important aspect of installing power protection on this kind of scale, not just in this stadium but you’ve done a lot of these.

We’ve done a lot of large athletic facilities all over the world. The most important aspect of any of those projects is planning. It needs to be properly engineered. The existing conditions in a retrofit application, a renovation application such as this where you don’t have the luxury of designing from the ground up – though we do get a chance to do that a good bit too. Where you’ve got to do a renovation you’re limited with regard to, as I noted earlier, the location of those; where that power can get to. And you’re limited with regard to modifications that can be made so the design aspect is absolutely crucial. [Timestamp: 3:04]

And perhaps an even more challenging part of this project was the complete sound system upgrade for this ninety-thousand seat stadium. That had to be a big job.

It was a significant job and the timeline was pretty compressed as we talked about earlier. That affected a lot about how we approached it. We treated it as though it was going to be a compressed schedule with some limitations with regard to what could be done structurally, what could be done from an electrical and mechanical perspective to support the end design. And we built the design with those parameters in mind. The system itself is a fairly basic approach. That is we used some very solid known technologies and known approaches to loudspeaker design that were tried-and-true methods and I think that contributed to the success of the project as well. [Timestamp: 3:51]

And so you went with a Danley Jericho point source sound system.

We did.

And Danley is also a Georgia company isn’t it?

They are. Danley is based in the region and we’ve had a relationship with Mike and the guys there for quite some time, though this was the first endeavor that we took on this scale with their product. We’ve used their product in a number of other facilities that were lower-capacity facilities. This was the large deployment of their stuff that we undertook. The process of getting from concept to full design involved us modeling the facility, that there were not existing CAD files that would allow us to build that model easily. So we had to actually take a lot of measurements, do a lot of verification, build the stadium inside the modeling environment and then modeled three different sound systems. And after analyzing the results, cost benefit of each different approach, the impact on the project schedule, the sequencing, all the different specific parameters associated with this project, we landed on the Jericho design and very happy with the results. [Timestamp: 5:01]

Well others have been too and unlike the power situation I would think that this part of the job really involved the heavy lifting.

That’s true, quite literally. Getting cranes in place, as I mentioned earlier too, it was a whole lot of logistics involved with physically getting the existing system that was there removed and getting the new components in place. Lots of heavy lifting, yes. [Timestamp: 5:23]

While all this was going on did you guys pretty much have the place to yourselves or was there a lot of other stuff going on in the stadium?

Quite the contrary. So the way that a lot of these facilities work is there’s a fall season where you’ve got a lot of football games going on and then you’ve got winter months where there’s sort of a little down time, and the heavy maintenance work starts to begin in the springtime and pushes all the way through the summer. Some of that work has to be done in the summertime, especially in some of the northern facilities we’ve worked in. Pressure washing in the middle of February in Boise is not an option, for example. So we had people in the facility doing all the routine maintenance of painting and pressure washing and things like that, but at the same time there was a massive undertaking in installing a distributed antenna system for cellular enhancement in the facility and there were a number of other projects going on at the same time. [Timestamp: 6:20]

Well I’m sure you didn’t have to deal with really tough weather conditions other than some lightning but in the summer it can get roasting hot in Athens.

It peaks at about 112-113 degrees inside that scoreboard in the midst of some of the days of installation, so yes it was difficult.

What was the most challenging or difficult part of getting the sound system in?

The most difficult part about it overall was the timeline. It really – it was very much a compressed timeline. As I mentioned in the previous discussion, two and a half months is a very short time period to demo a system that was there, add a new system to it, add the infrastructure and connectivity that was required to activate the system, condition the system, commission the system and train the operators. It was very much a compressed schedule, but it’s also kind of fun to get into a known set of parameters and hard deadlines and be able to have a solid plan and a solid team for executing it and doing so successfully. It’s fun. [Timestamp: 7:23]

Well when all the dominoes fall in the right direction it’s a very nice thing to behold once you’re done with it. You got this one done so what’s coming up next for TSAV? We talked earlier about that and you seem to be staying pretty busy.

We’re staying busy. We’re growing at a pretty strong clip. One of the big things we’re focused on right now is bringing in some new members of the team. We’ve got a number of new members that are joining us over the course of the next few months and have been over the last few months, so we’re really excited about that expansion. We’ve got some projects going on in California and some in Texas and Illinois and then all over the southeast that are active and a couple over in the Middle East that are active. So we’re excited about the growth, we’re excited about the continuing to work with clients that we’ve had for a long time and the projects that we’re getting to work on are more and more exciting. The clients we’re getting to work with are becoming closer and closer friends so it’s good. [Timestamp: 8:18]

I’m sure it’s nice to have an ongoing gig at Sanford Stadium right there in your home town. Thanks for taking us through this one, Pete Dugas from TSAV, Technical Services Audio-Visual in Athens, Georgia. New power and sound upgrades at Sanford Stadium, home of the Georgia Bulldogs. It was fun. Thanks, Pete.

Thank you.

Thank you for being here with us for the SVC Podcast with Pete Dugas. Show notes are available on the website of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at svconline.com. Be right back here again with us next time for the SVC Podcast.

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