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REXBURG — At a massive 435,000 square feet, more than twice the size of the Holt Arena in Pocatello, it’s hard to fathom that the BYU-Idaho Center is basically just two incredibly large rooms.
Even inside the 15,000-seat auditorium, or the 10-basketball court gymnasium, it’s still hard to grasp just how large the building is. One BYU- Idaho official recently described the experience as “stepping out of Rexburg.”
To put it into better perspective, consider that the top balcony of the auditorium alone seats more people than the entire John W. Hart Auditorium. But if sheer size of the building isn’t impressive enough, the building’s technical capabilities are more so.
Since the initial design phase of the BYU-Idaho Center, plans were put in place to build a large and complex broadcasting center, which, now completed, either surpasses or rivals any broadcasting facility in or surrounding Idaho.
In fact, the closest comparison is the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City, which actually played a significant role in the development and construction of the BYU-Idaho Center. “We have received so much help from the Conference Center ever since we broke ground,” said Judy Steiner, Event Management manager in a news release. “There is no structure in the world more similar to our facility than the Conference Center.”
According to Steiner, LDS church audio/video specialists worked hand-in-hand with AV specialists at Brigham Young University-Idaho and donated 12 high definition digital cameras to the new facility.
As part of the collaboration, the entire AV Production and Event Management departments, which had previously been scattered in building across campus, were moved into the broadcast center wing of the BYU-Idaho Center. The move allowed employees direct “across-the-hall” access to their equipment and workstations.
The broadcasting center is full of redundant services, which allows for the coverage of simultaneous productions and provides a back-up system in case of technical malfunction. The facility includes two video control rooms, two audio control rooms, a remote camera control room, an area to control the teleprompter, and a series of editing and post-production suites.
A large video studio including a full office set and a green screen has also been built. During a live production as many as 30 students and staff might participate on the technical crew and production staff in one of the various control rooms.
The broadcast center is interconnected by the Broadcast Operations Center, a medium sized room full of wires, servers, operating equipment, and the constant roar of large air conditioning units. The Broadcast Operations Center functions as the central hub for miles upon miles of cabling throughout the building.
One of the center’s responsibilities is to broadcast video playback onto two 34-by-19-foot screens in the BYU-Idaho Center auditorium. Behind each screen is a large blackened room where an easy-to- access rear projector delivers the picture. The Broadcast Operations Center also broadcasts its signal to LDS Church servers to be distributed live, and has the capability for a live signal to be broadcast to local and distant television stations.
Another positive aspect of the new broadcasting center is its impact on students. According to Video Production Coordinator Mike Jeffs, the facility offers its student employees an amazing resume building opportunity.
“When students can say that they’ve worked in a facility this large, it gives them a whole new sense of confidence,” said Jeffs.
The first major production at the BYU-Idaho Center will be its own dedication and that of the remodeled Hyrum Manwaring Student Center beginning Friday at 10 a.m.
President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will dedicate buildings and Elder Russell M. Nelson and Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will also be in attendance.