Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Earns Facility of Merit Award
June 15, 2017

OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss’ Vaught-Hemingway Stadium has been awarded a 2017 Facility of Merit Award as one of 10 sports facilities recognized for their leadership in addressing safety and security issues. The award will be formally presented as part of the National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition July 11-13 in Orlando, Florida.

The presentation of the 2017 Facility of Merit Awards is sponsored by Axis Communications, a market leader in video network, and hosted by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at Southern Miss.

“The Facility of Merit Award is to allow professional leagues, NCAA member institutions and marathon and endurance organizations to honor outstanding facilities that have gone above and beyond for their sports safety and security,” said NCS4 Director Dr. Lou Marciani. “These contributions involve enhancing safety and security at their venue beyond what is normally required, and setting an example for other facilities to follow.”

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium has seen a number of improvements and enhancements over the past three years. The north end zone was bowled in to provide a capacity increase of nearly 5,000 seats, while a new field club was added in the south end zone, and there have been major renovations to the south and west premium areas and press box.

Among the many security improvements to the stadium since 2015 are:

  • Construction of a stadium emergency operations center and a stadium command post to support gameday operations and interagency logistics
  • Improved security through new lanyard ticketing system (premium areas)
  • More stadium signage added to improve communication and direction on premium areas gameday policies
  • Filming the first 5-10 rows of the stadium during the final five minutes of the fourth quarter as a deterrent to rushing the field
  • Installation of Phases 1 and 2 of comprehensive security camera system
    • Phase 1: 16 10-megapixel cameras to cover the interior seating area; three PTZ cameras to actively investigate stadium incidents in the seating area; nine 3 MP cameras to cover the south end zone gates
    • Phase 2: 42 cameras to cover concourses and entrance gates for north end zone; one PTZ to monitor exterior of north end zone; 29 3 MP cameras to cover the remaining gates on east and west; seven PTZ cameras to monitor interior and exterior of stadium; 176 TB of storage (approximately 60 days of storage); 10G fiber backbone; Cisco switching
  • Construction of a 360-degree concourse to improve response times
  • Use of vapor wake dogs in The Grove and stadium for the final three games of the 2016 season
  • Change in stadium lockdown procedures that secures the stadium 48 hours prior to kickoff
  • Barcoded credentials required scanning for entrance 
  • The use of plainclothes police/FBI in the stadium
  • Creation of an emergency operations coordinator position by the university
  • Creation of a captain of field operations position by university police to liaison with athletics

University of Mississippi Police Chief Tim Potts will accept the award on behalf of the university at the July 12 ceremony in Orlando. 

Marciani noted that each league or organization selects the criteria and makes the determination as to which facility will be recognized. Those facilities being recognized include the following:

  • Big Sur Marathon (Road Race/Endurance Events)
  • Maryville City Schools (High School/After-School Events)
  • Saginaw Public School District (High School/After-School Events)
  • Richmond Public Schools (High School/After-School Events)
  • Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, The University of Mississippi (NCAA)
  • Ryan Field, Northwestern University (NCAA)
  • Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium, Duke University (NCAA)
  • Bridgestone Arena, Nashville Predators (NHL)
  • Progressive Field, Cleveland Indians (MLB)
  • Levi’s Stadium, San Francisco 49ers (NFL)

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