Students and visitors enjoy stadium preparation

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    By David Butler

    When fans pile into LaVell Edward Stadium this Saturday afternoon, they probably will not realize the hundreds of man-hours that go into preparing and running the stadium for each game.

    Preparations for the BYU-Notre Dame showdown actually began about three months before the actual game day. The man behind the show is Larry Duffin, director of special events, and his hard-working staff.

    ?We start our intense preparations about ten days out,? Duffin said. ?Before that we test the sound, heating, cooling, electrical, and other systems in the stadium.?

    Many people do not know, but the replay screen is actually run from the Marriott Center through a system of fiber optic cables. This too is one of the many systems tested and put in place months before the fans ever arrive.

    ?The broadcasting element requires a lot of logistical concerns,? Duffin said. ?In fact, this year will be the first time that the game will be broadcasted in high definition from the stadium, which requires about twice as much power than a normal broadcast.?

    Part of the broadcasting preparations for this game were preparations for a Skycam system in the stadium. Electricians worked over a week to install cables and electrical lines for a camera that would fly around overhead during the game. Unfortunately it was cancelled, but the time was still put in to prepare for it.

    Over 2000 people and thousands of man-hours are needed each game to prepare for and run everything for each game of the season.

    Among the 2000, the largest department is the group 900 employees working for the concessions. Last year, the concession stands sold over half of a million hot dogs, which definitely requires a lot of hours.

    Many of these employees are students at BYU.

    Suzanne Stratton, manager of guest services, trains and runs an event staff of 300 BYU students.

    ?You have to be sure that everyone is really well informed about what to do if there is an emergency, or if they need first aide,? Stratton said. ?They need to know the stadium inside and out.

    ?Positioning people, and making sure they are in the right place on time is the biggest job. Before I started here, half of the things I do I wouldn?t have even thought about,? she said.

    People will arrive at the stadium on Saturday starting at 6 a.m., and many will be there until 1 or 2 Sunday morning. Most of the event staff will put in six hours a piece.

    ?There?s a lot of work and stress behind the scenes to get it ready,? Duffin said. ?But seeing the anticipation in everyone?s faces, coupled with the excitement of the starting of school and the excitement of the student body gets this old adrenaline running, and it is what we are all about.?

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