The Nittany Lion logo stopped traffic Wednesday on Park Avenue.
A 6,500-pound sign suspended from a crane outside Beaver Stadium will do that.
Motorists slowed and passers-by stopped to snap pictures of the giant-sized version of the familiar blue-and-white oval. Crews spent the day preparing for Thursday, when they will place the logo on the back of Beaver Stadium’s north scoreboard.
Part of a larger scoreboard renovation project, the giant logo, and another like it that will be placed on the south scoreboard in June, are a new touch. They will face out from the stadium for all around to see.
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“They’ll be visible for miles away,” said Paul Ruskin, business operations coordinator for the Penn State Office of Physical Plant. “If somewhere on Mount Nittany there is a living Nittany lion, it will be able to look (at the sign).”
Placing logos on the back of scoreboards has become common among other universities, including some Big Ten schools, Penn State officials have said. The University of Michigan as its “M” logo on the back of the scoreboard at Michigan Stadium.
“In case you had difficult finding (Beaver Stadium) before, you’ll have no trouble now,” Ruskin said. “It’s part of branding, part of Penn State pride. ... It will announce our presence in a great way.”
Each sign will be illuminated by 1,400 LED bulbs, but each will only use 330 watts of electricity, equivalent to three of the older incandescent 100 watt bulbs. The bulbs each have a 50,000-hour life span, Ruskin said.
The work is part of a $10 million scoreboard replacement project.
The former scoreboard was installed in 2000 during a stadium expansion. But it was aging and its technology was out-of-date, Penn State officials have said.
The new scoreboard will have full-screen, high-definition video panels. The university will upgrade Beaver Stadium’s sound system and install closed-captioning boards below the scoreboard.
Ford Stryker, the university’s vice president for the physical plant, previously said the project will be paid with two sources: a university loan to the athletic department and funds from the athletic department.
Depending on the weather, crews are expected to hoist the sign sometime after 8 a.m. Thursday.