Koch Arena will go dark next basketball season.
Then it will light up. In a matter of seconds.
Wichita State fans who desire more NBA, more spotlights, more drama in their players introductions are about to get their wish with the installation of LED lamps in the arena this summer.
“This is going to change the fan experience,” said Reggie McIntyre, assistant director of marketing. “We’re going to have the ability, potentially, to do things Shocker fans haven’t seen in Koch Arena.”
WSU will spend $442,269, from its Physical Plant budget, to install the energy-efficient LED lamps and new wiring to replace the metal halide lamps. The project, done by A&H Electric and Musco Sports Lighting, is contracted to be finished by Sept. 15.
The change means the Koch Arena lights can go down for player introductions, or other uses, and come back on quickly for sports and other events.
“With LED lights, it’s instantaneous on and off, so if you want to go dark, you can do that and not have to worry about shuttering your lights,” said associate athletic director Brad Pittman said. “They also have the ability to do some flickering, some strobing, and you can create scenes where there’s flashing.”
The cost savings is also important.
The new lights, which come with a 10-year warranty, will save the university an estimated $25-30,000 annually, Pittman said. The lights will be installed on trusses running the length of the court. The trusses can be lowered for maintenance, which adds to the savings. WSU will no longer need to rent a lift to change the lights on the arena’s ceiling.
“We usually re-lamp every two years, because it’s so difficult to get up there,” Pittman said. “And that was a $15-20,000 expense every two years that we won’t have to do.”
Pittman said the lights will focus their beams on the court, which should give Koch Arena a look similar to Madison Square Garden, Oklahoma City’s BOK Center and Kansas State’s Bramlage Coliseum.
“It should be brighter,” Pittman said. “You’ll have more of theatrical look.”
McIntyre, who orchestrates music, promotions and video during games, is building scripts and borrowing ideas.
“I love game days,” he said. “I’ve been studying different pieces … to see what we can do to help these kind of things that can drive attendance. ‘What are they going to do next?’ ‘What are our intros going to look like?’ ‘What’s going to happen during Shocker Madness?’ I want people to talk about those things.”