Bemidji, Minnesota, a city of about 14,000 people, is known as the home of Paul Bunyan and Babe, his BlueOx, as well as the birthplace of actress Jane Russell. And being located in Minnesota, it's a safe bet that winter sports are high on the list of activities. Bemidji has been dubbed the curling capital of the US, and Bemidji natives have represented in the last two Winter Olympic Games. Not surprisingly, ice hockey is also held in high regard, so it's hardly surprising that the city recently invested in a state-of-the-art event center.
Opened in late 2010, the Bemidji Regional Event Center (BREC) is an 185,000 square-foot multi-purpose facility with an arena and exhibition space. The arena seats 4,700 for ice hockey but can accommodate up to 6,000 for concert events. The venue is the new home to the Division 1 Bemidji State University men's and women's hockey teams. Notable in their own right, the BSU hockey teams have produced over 55 All-Americans, clinched 13 national championships and post one of the best win-loss records in college hockey.
The audio system in the BREC is based around Community Professional's iBOX Series, which was specified by John Miller, consultant for Austin-based BAi, LLC. Ben Stowe, President of NLfx Professional, headquartered in Bemidji, noted, "We had previously installed Community at BSU's gymnasium and football field and we were really pleased with the results, so it was great to be able to put it in the home of BSU hockey."
"Minnesotans take their hockey pretty seriously," Stowe continues, "and when you have a team with the tradition and pedigree that BSU does you can count on especially ardent fans. The games are well attended and the arena can get VERY loud, so the system has to be capable of some high SPL while maintaining clarity and intelligibility." The convention center audio system is linked to the arena's sound system via CobraNet utilizing QSC's BASIS system. QSC amplification drives the system.
Stowe gives the iBOX high marks for both performance and design aesthetics. "Community iBOX is exceptional for many applications, and sports facilities are at the top of my list," he observes. The nice thing about the iBOX is that all of the boxes were the same size and shape, regardless of how they were loaded and purposed. That allows for a clean, streamlined appearance throughout the project. It also made installation fast because all of the rigging materials were consistent, so the guys never had to worry about what parts they had in the lifts."