How to Build a Hi-Tech University Rec Center

How to Build a Hi-Tech


When a Midwestern U.S. university needed a competitive edge to attract new students, it upgraded its rec center with a massive Sharp professional display video wall. Students now view movies, college football and other programming in the hi-tech signature space while exercising or socializing.

Making an Impact

Today’s high school students face a myriad of options when choosing a university to continue their education. In order to attract and retain top-line students, higher education institutions are often challenged to implement unique measures. Signature spaces, like 24/7 dining rooms, lazy rivers and beach clubs have sprouted at college campuses across the country as many schools are applying unprecedented techniques to gain interest from a new generation of students. Schools are competing with one another to keep up with new technologies and trends in education while also focusing on maintaining a reputation with current and future student bodies.

For example, a U.S. university in the Midwest recently made a move to stand out from the competition by aiming to build one of the nation’s top college gymnasiums for its students. Pulling from data that highlighted the immense amount of time students spend at the gym, as well as the diversity of the facility’s audience, the university felt that improving this area was an ideal way to heighten the student experience.

The Bigger the Better

The plan to renovate the student rec center on campus was, in part, due to the need for updated technology. The university contracted a reputable architectural firm to help design and create the space. The development strategy included which products to install and how to integrate the technology into the environment in an effective and seamless manner.

To serve as the main attraction to the gym, the team added a gigantic, 240” diagonal video wall from Sharp that towered above the gymnasium space. The architectural firm, along with an audiovisual design engineer, configured a video wall using 16 Sharp PN-V601 60-inch class (60” diagonal) professional monitors in a 4x4 configuration. The engineers were challenged to elevate the monitors so it would be visible from every corner of the floor, as well as from both the upper and lower levels of the facility. The bottom of the display wall hangs more than 20 feet above the floor, making it an impressive system that can be seen from many angles.

Building the Campus of the Future

Since the ambitious installation was completed, students at the university now enjoy watching the massive wall display while they are exercising on the elliptical machine or hanging out in the student lounge. The video wall display can be seen from the smoothie bar to the basketball courts, and usually airs movies, sports programming, the university’s general messaging and a view of the quad, except on Saturdays when the school’s football game is shown on the 240” diagonal display made up of 16 linked monitors.

The video wall includes cable tuners, a disc player and local PC/laptop hook-ups. The architects and engineers chose the Sharp monitors for their ability to support the HD PC and disc platforms, as well as for brand reputation and innovative approach to technology. In order to build the campus of the future—one that would attract new students and keep the current student body buzzing—the university went with a trusted leader in the industry and the results are prominently displayed in an amazing HD monitor wall. The student recreation center will never be the same.