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Bemidji Regional Event Center scoreboard estimates discussed

Preliminary cost estimates for the Bemidji Regional Event Center scoreboard seem to be in line with expectations.

The exact cost will be known once bids are received.

The BREC Advisory Board met Monday morning at City Hall, during which time the board agreed the scoreboard should be discussed with the Bemidji City Council at a work session prior to advertising for bids.

That meeting would need to occur sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Bob LeBarron, the executive director of the BREC, said it will take six months from the time the bid is approved to when the scoreboard would be completely installed.

The main scoreboard is planned to be a four-sided video board with a scoring ring beneath it. There also will be two smaller-scaled scoreboards on the end walls of the arena.

The scoreboard budget is expected to fall somewhere between $920,000 and $1.26 million, depending on the final size of the main scoreboard, number of pixels and how aggressive the companies are that bid.

"I think these ranges are fairly consistent with what we thought," LeBarron said of the final cost.

The scoreboard budget includes the two smaller scoreboards on each end, the shot clocks and infrastructure needs.

Also needed is a hoist, which is anticipated to cost about $115,000, to allow the scoreboard to be raised out of view and lowered for maintenance needs.

Also budgeted is production equipment, such as cameras. The equipment would be used in conjunction with the video boards on the main scoreboard.

The cameras would produce the feeds necessary for the main scoreboard.

Board member Ron Johnson suggested the possibility of utilizing the city's PEG fees to help purchase the equipment and maybe locate a studio at the BREC.

The city uses the funds raised through Public Education Government, or PEG, fees, to purchase equipment to improve both government and public access programming.

Residential cable customers are charged 50 cents each month in PEG fees through Paul Bunyan TV and Midcontinent, which remit the funds to the city.

The city has about $83,945 available in PEG dollars for equipment purchases, according to Finance Director Ron Eischens.

Bemidji State University hockey will be the anchor tenant of the BREC, which is expected to open in October.

The main scoreboard will be available for use by other tenants, such as those performing in a concert or tournament, but that would come at an added cost, LeBarron said.