By Brandon Ward
MSU Riley Center has gone high-tech thanks to a grant from the Riley Foundation.
Recent upgrades at the Riley Center include, among other things, new computers with an upgraded network, website advances, 90-inch LED flat-panel television displays, and new Peavy Electronics MediaMatrix audio/video control systems.
"Our primary selling points for the center since opening have been our classic historical beauty and our built-in technical capabilities," Riley Center Executive Director Dennis Sankovich said. "After eight years of use, those technological features were becoming obsolete, and we were finding it more and more difficult to serve the modern needs of our clients. The Riley Foundation recognized this fact and encouraged us to plan a grant proposal that would comprehensively address our issues and reach further to develop our full competitive edge in technology again."
Sankovich said the Riley Center's advancements allow users the ability to record and broadcast conferences and seminars as live events, allowing participants to view multiple events simultaneously and store them in an archive.
"This amazing feature is a service no other venue in the Southeast can provide its clients," Sankovich said. "In addition, all audio/visual capabilities are offered in-house, rendering third party companies unnecessary and bring cost savings to all involved."
The Riley Center said it has worked with many local vendors such as Hooper's, Peavey Electronics, Leading Edges, and Webster Electric.
"These vendors have been great partners in major parts of this project, in addition to giving us competitive pricing," Sankovich said. "These were all local vendors who we have a long standing relationship with, and they continue to support us since our opening in 2006. We also used the extensive talents of our own MSU technical staff members to do all of the design and installation, which provided them with a totally unique understanding of our A-V systems in the building," said Sankovich.
Peavey General Manager Kevin Ivey said Peavey was very excited about being a part of the project and not only teaming up with the Riley Center, but with Mississippi State University as well.
"I am an alumnus of Mississippi State University," Ivey said. "Our founder, Hartley Peavey, was an alumnus of Mississippi State University, so really it is a hand and glove fit for us to be able to do something with the university, not only in the conference center but also in the opera house and auditorium."
"Being a hometown company, the technology that is coming into the Riley Center, the MediaMatrix, is used all over the world, which really just proves that this is a world class facility," Ivey said. "The systems that we have installed here with the university allows control to be distributed throughout the facility and creates a conference center here that the university and the state can be proud of."
Bob Deen, chairman of the Riley Foundation, said it is important for the MSU Riley Center to remain on the cutting edge of technology to provide the best conference facility in Mississippi and the surrounding region.
Beck Farley, executive director, said the Foundation has awarded $34 million to Mississippi State University for their downtown campus for the continued revitalization of downtown Meridian and educational opportunities for the citizens the community.
For more information about the MSU RIley Center's conference facilities, contact Suzanne Helveston at 601-696-2203.