Montana State University

MSU will turn on the big lights for Cat/Griz showdown

November 3, 2011 -- MSU News Service

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Montana State University Athletics Director Peter Fields announced Thursday an ambitious plan to have lights in Bobcat Stadium in time for the classic football rivalry between MSU and the University of Montana on Nov. 19.

"An incredibly generous anonymous donor has come forward with a leadership donation of $500,000 for stadium lights," Fields said. "Since that development, other benefactors have stepped up to help us reach the goal line."

The lights for the Cat-Griz game will sit on four, 110-foot posts that will stand outside the four corners of the stadium and illuminate the playing field. The four corner lights would be the first of several phases of lighting for the stadium.

"The lights will give Bobcat fans a taste of how spectacular their stadium will look," Fields said. "But this is just the beginning."

The lights from the four posts will allow the Bobcats to practice in real-game conditions as the days grow shorter and the Bobcats play into post season. Beginning Sunday, the end of daylight saving time will considerably shorten the time the team can practice in natural light.

"Lights in the stadium will allow us to practice at our normal time even though it is dark one hour earlier due to daylight saving time. Our student-athletes will now be able to get a consistent amount of preparation time for the crucial late season and playoff games, and we won't have to make any schedule changes that might disrupt or conflict with their daily academic schedule," said MSU Head Football Coach Rob Ash.

While the corner lights will help with practice, it will take three more posts as well as lighting in the spectator and concourse areas in order to complete the project. The overall price tag is nearly $1 million.

The three other posts would stand 140 feet with two shining over the top of the east-side seating and one over the west-side skybox suites. All three would be custom manufactured.

Once done, the complete project would allow Bobcat Stadium to host night games and meet television broadcasting lighting requirements. In order to minimize their affect outside of games, the lights will have three settings: 30 percent power for stadium maintenance; 70 percent power for football practice; and 100 percent for games.

The necessary funds have been raised to take the next step in the evolution of the Bobcat Stadium, said MSU Alumni Foundation President Michael Stevenson.

An order for the lighting equipment was placed with Musco Sports Lighting, of Iowa, this week. It will be installed by Martel Construction and connected by Matzinger Electric, both of Bozeman, Stevenson said.

"We are excited to provide this opportunity for our student athletes," Stevenson said. "Fans can anticipate a lot of activity around the stadium as crews have already begun preparations for the installation of the lights."

Contact: Tracy Ellig, University Communications, (406) 994-5607, tellig@montana.edu