October 2, 2012

Pacific University Unveils State-Of-The-Art Boxer Learning Center

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Boxer Learning Center 9/2012
Boxer Learning Center Light Pen Demo 9/2012
Assistant Men's Basketball Coach Alex Carlson (inset) demonstrates the use of the annotator & light pen in for the Boxer Learning Center's video wall.
As the Pacific football team settled in for their final video session on Friday prior to their showdown with Willamette, offensive coordinator Jim Craft loaded up video from the Bearcats' defensive packages.

 
What came next made the Boxers feel like they were already on the sideline.
 
Over the next 45 minutes, video of the Bearcats sets popped up on the large 120-inch video wall dominating the main wall of the Boxer Learning Center, the newest tool in Pacific's arsenal of excellence.
 
Located in the Stoller Center, the Boxer Learning Center provides a learning experience for both students and student-athletes unparalleled at any Northwest Conference school.  Developed conceptually last year and completed in the fall, what was once an exercise science lab and classroom is now a multimedia enhanced classroom complex that is the most technologically advanced on the Forest Grove campus.
 
Funded in part by donations from a special appeal at July's Pacific University Legends Classic, the Boxer Learning Center is modeled after video rooms for the athletics program at the University of Oregon.  The space is being utilized both by Pacific athletics teams and for classes, primarily for the University's department of exercise science.
 
"With all of the instruction our coaches are doing these days with video, it made sense to provide a space where we could best use that technology to our advantage," said Pacific director of athletics Ken Schumann. "The Boxer Learning Center does just that in providing a large multimedia theater that will benefit not only all of our teams, but also allow for unique academic instructional opportunities."
 

Boxer Learning Center 9/2012
Football Offensive Coordinator Jim Craft instructs players using the Sharp 2x2 Video Wall.
The centerpiece of the Boxer Learning Center is a 120-inch Sharp video wall.  Actually comprised of separate video screens synched into one image complete with HD quality.  The same image is also projected to two 60-inch screens, allowing for easy viewing from anywhere in the room.

 
It is the technology in the room's two smart podiums, though, that really makes the Boxer Learning Center hum.  Teams can project images from the provided computer, a coach's laptop or a DVD player in the podium.  Coaches can toggle between the two with the tap of the touch screen control center.
 
In addition, the PointMaker annotation processor allows coaches to diagram plays right over the projected images.  Rather than simply pointing to the screen, the X's and O's actually come to live superimposed over the team's own video by using a light pen to draw on the smart podium's screen.
 
Football offensive coordinator Jim Craft said the new technology takes game preparation to a new level.  "As a teacher, having multiple outlets of technology at your fingertips is an amazing advantage," he said.  "Using fully integrated flat screen to show film, draw on, talk over, show playbook and cut-ups in unison is a powerful teaching tool."
 
In addition to the technological opportunities, the Boxer Learning Center is really two classrooms in one.  A 40-foot NanaWall will be installed later in October, allowing the center to be divided into two rooms.  The black glass walls are soundproof, allowing two teams to effectively use the space at the same time.  Two retractable screens, equipped with multimedia projectors, provide video capabilities for both halves of the center.
 
But the available space is also a plus.  With seating for 80 people, the Boxer Learning Center allows either the offense or defense to meet in one place without leaving the Stoller Center.  Prior to the development of the center, the team would meet in larger academic auditoriums across campus.  "We can comfortably meet with the entire team," Craft said.  "The efficiency that this provides us time wise is invaluable."
 
Football will be far from the only program to benefit from the construction of the Boxer Learning Center.  Any sport which utilizes video for instruction, from basketball and baseball to lacrosse and track and field, will make the complex a highly sought after space.  Both basketball teams are exploring the possibility of using the Boxer Learning Center for their pregame chalk talks.
 
"We are ecstastic to use the resources that are now available to us through the latest and most advanced technology in order to take our women's basketball program to the next level," said head women's basketball coach Sharon Rissmilller.  "The advanced technology in the Boxer Learning Center will be used to increase our players' understanding and knowledge of the game and to teach our players what it truly means to be students of the game."
 
The Boxer Learning Center is the latest of a number of facilities upgrades funded by the Legends Classic in recent years.  Money from the celebrity tournament, hosted by Pacific University trustee and KISS lead guitarist Tommy Thayer, contributed to the purchase of video display and message boards for the Stoller Center as well as the FieldTurf installed last year in the Stoller Center fieldhouse.

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