The Jacksonville Suns announced Friday that installation of a new scoreboard and videoboard is underway at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.
Two digital video screens will also be installed into the outfield wall. The project is scheduled to be completed prior to the Florida vs. Florida State baseball game on March 26 and will be fully functional by Suns Opening Night on April 4.
The new scoreboard and outfield wall screens will replace the original scoreboard and tri-vision wall signs installed in 2003 when the Baseball Grounds were constructed.
Officials said that over the last several years the Suns and facilities management company SMG have struggled to keep the old equipment functional. Malfunctions during the 2011 Florida vs. Florida State game resulted in a complete scoreboard blackout. They said the new equipment will help bolster the Baseball Grounds' appeal as the city continues to pursue opportunities to host the ACC and other collegiate baseball tournaments.
Both the new videoboard and outfield wall screens are being manufactured and installed by TS Sports, of Dallas. The videoboard will feature a 58-foot by 25-foot, 10mm, high-definition screen and include a fully digital and customizable scoreboard. Two 6-feet by 72-feet, 10mm high-definition video screens will replace the six rotating, tri-vision outfield wall panels.
"I am truly excited for the fans as well as the players at how much nicer this new scoreboard will be," said Suns president and owner Peter Bragan Jr. "It was getting hard to keep that old one running all the time, and it was difficult to see all the numbers and writing on it. We wanted the new one to look at least a little like the real old one from Wolfson Park in the '60s that had sunrays sticking out all around. This one has a place at the very top for a big Suns logo."
The $1.2 million project is being funded by the Tourist Development Council, with revenue generated from the city's occupancy tax, which is applied to all hotel rooms in the city. A portion of the occupancy tax is allocated annually for maintenance, capital improvements and general enhancements of all the sports complex facilities, including EverBank Field, Veterans Memorial Arena, and the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.
"I would like to thank the mayor's office, SMG and everyone else for working with the Suns to make this happen, in time for the 2013 Southern League All-Star Game, which is July 17", said GM Chris Peters. "We will have people from all over our league, as well as other baseball representatives and dignitaries here this summer, and the new scoreboard will really make Jacksonville shine."