Central school upgrade Sports can be viewed in concessions area

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A new camera system streams the action across the Internet so it can be enjoyed on this 55-inch TV.
With help from Alpine Communications, Central has been able to solve the issue of missing the action in the gym while enjoying a snack in the new concessions area. A new camera system streams the action across the Internet so it can be enjoyed on this 55-inch TV.
Mounted near the ceiling of the gym
Mounted near the ceiling of the gym, the camera gives a panoramic view of the action on the floor.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

If you’re a parent, relative, friend or classmate of a Central athlete, you’ve probably had this happen: You’re sitting in the stands watching the game and you decide you need something to eat. You want to avoid the rush so with time on the clock you ease out of your seat, make your way down the bleachers and out the gym door. Just as you’re digging into your snack, a loud roar erupts from the crowd and you know you’ve missed something big.

Thanks to collaboration between Central Schools and Alpine Communications, fans will never miss another big sports moment. The school recently unveiled a system that enables fans to see real-time action from the gym on an LED smart TV located in the new concession area. The equipment, which was researched and installed by Alpine, is part of the school’s nearly $7 million capital improvements project.

Central Superintendent Nick Trenkamp is credited with bringing the problem to Alpine’s attention.

“We partner with Alpine for Internet solutions, capacity and school technology,” he explained. “Because of this great partnership, I contact Alpine to help us find a solution.”

The process started with selecting a camera that could compensate for the poor lighting in the gym and the fast-moving nature of competition sports. In addition, “set it and forget it” equipment was needed so the school would not need to rely on students or volunteer operators.

Sara Hertrampf, Alpine’s sales and marketing manager, researched several solution and checked with other schools that stream their athletic events. Ultimately, Central purchased a camera from a Georgia-based company that provides live and on-demand sports coverage. The camera offers panoramic, live action video without the need of students or staff to operate it. The video is streamed live over the Internet so fans in the concession stand can watch the action on a 55-inch screen with only a slight delay.

The new camera system has the capability to deliver sports coverage to private homes for a nominal fee through a website and app. Trenkamp hopes to make that available in the near future to Central fans who are unable to make the events in person.

“This first year has been an experiment with the system and we are getting most of the kinks worked out now,” he added. “Next year we hope to promote it more to families and Central supporters who may live far away or just can’t physically come to our events.”

Trenkamp’s observations are echoed by Central Athletic Director Trevor Hunt: “During home events, I have heard parents and students from visiting schools mention things such as ‘We need something like this’ or ‘I’m going to mention to our administration that we should do this in our commons area’ so others are noticing the positives it brings as well.”

The school might also research uses for the camera system beyond sporting events.

“Right now, we’d couldn’t stream our vocal or band concerts due to copyright laws,” Trenkamp said, adding that something like commencement might be a possibility.  

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