- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—The Cambria County War Memorial Arena Authority has wanted to upgrade the facility’s light and sound systems for a while now.

But, due to budget restraints and other issues, the projects were always held off until a later date. Now, though, the improvements are necessities because the arena is scheduled to host a televised National Hockey League preseason game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning on

Sept. 29, an award for winning the inaugural Kraft Hockeyville USA contest.

So, on Monday, the board unanimously voted to spend approximately a quarter-million dollars to upgrade the light and sound systems.

The majority will be spent on the installation of almost 800 new LED lights throughout the arena at a projected cost of $212,548, although the more energy-efficient lights are expected to use approximately 300,000 fewer kilowatt hours per year, thus creating financial savings.

“It sounds like a lot of money, and it is a lot of money,” Dean Gindlesperger, the authority’s chairman, said. “But, through the savings, it’s going to be manageable for the board. Then on top of the energy savings, we’ll be going after some additional energy-efficiency grants. I feel very comfortable that the $212,000 project is going to be affordable. I think it’s something then when the fans come in there they’re going to notice right away.”

Constellation, an energy company, will cover the up-front expense.

“The main benefit is that they don’t have to come up with capital,” Joseph Hudak, Constellation’s senior business development manager, said.

War Memorial officials approved a five-year contract in which it will pay 6.122 cents per kilowatt hour to Constellation, down from its current rate of 6.45 cents with another company. Its bill will also include 60 monthly installments of $3,543 to pay off the $212,548.

Sylvania Lighting Services plans to complete the installation more than a week before the big game in order to provide arena workers time to put down a fresh ice surface. “Our typical construction schedule is being cut in half,” Sylvania executive account representative Bob Shostek said.

Authority members also agreed to spend up to $33,000 to have Kinetics Audio improve the sound system.

“We knew there were already issues before Hockeyville was finalized,” Gindlesperger said.

“Anybody that has been here knows the sound system just isn’t that good. We knew that and knew we had to address it.”

With the two upgrades, the authority will be spending approximately a half-million dollars for upgrades that include a scoreboard, boards and glass, compressor and safety netting.

The arena received $150,000 for winning Hockeyville. Board members want to acquire the rest of the funding through grants, sponsorships and, in a worst-case scenario, borrowing from a bank.

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.

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