Ohlone College Entrance Marquees

Please Note: Please send messages for posting using the Marquee Display Request Form. Information must be contained in 10 words or less, must be submitted at least 1 week prior to the event, will run for one week prior to the event, and must pertain directly to students and/or the College. Please fill in ALL information requested. Late requests may be processed if time permits.

Submit a Marquee Display Request.

About the Entrance Marquees on the Fremont Campus

Lights and letters…

Each of the entrance marquees contains 1,536 light bulbs behind clear lenses. The original marquee lights had colored lenses which made it look AWFUL. But we fixed that. The actual grid of lights is 16 lights high by 96 lights wide. The column of lights is what limits the number of letters that can be displayed at a single time. The smallest the average letter can be is 4 lights wide. To allow 2 lines of words to be displayed on the same frame, the tallest a letter can be is 7 lights high. Basic math.

Messages, sequences and schedules, oh my…

An individual message for a particular event may contain several frames. A frame is one flash of lights (or words). For example, a message about an upcoming blood drive might have four frames:

  1. Help save lives, donate blood
  2. Friday, March 20, 12:00 to 2:00pm
  3. Room 5209, Building 5
  4. a blank frame which separates this message from the one that follows

A sequence is a series of messages that display on any given day. For example, the sequence Monday, March 9 included:

  1. Time and temperature
  2. Welcome
  3. Flea Market
  4. Red Cross workshop
  5. Wind Orchestra performance
  6. Academy of Art representative
  7. Community band performance
  8. Ohlone baseball game
  9. Thanks to Lam Research for a donation

A schedule tells the marquee when to turn on, turn off, and which sequence to run on what day.

Marquee on north side entrance to Ohlone College's Fremont campus.

Why do they shut off at 10:00pm you ask…

Because of the woman who lives across the street from the south entrance. The south marquee points directly at her bedroom window. So, to be a nice neighbor (and avoid one of those nasty nuisance lawsuit things), we shut them down at 10:00pm.

How do they work…

The electronics of the marquees (along with 10,000 spiders) are located in one of the support legs. Each marquee has it's own computer CPU and phone line. All messages, sequences and schedules are created on the main marquee computer located in the TV Center. Once each segment has been created, the marquee is called via a modem and the information is transferred.

After all pertinent data is downloaded, the marquee is instructed to run the schedule. The main computer is then disconnected and the marquee runs on it's own. The onboard computer runs the schedule for that day and displays the appropriate sequences and messages.

You know what really bugs me? When I call the marquee and get a busy signal. Honest. Who is it talking to? The Coliseum? Times Square?

Rainy days and Mondays…

So why are the marquees sometimes "off"? The truth is that they aren't off. They are running a blank message because they have run out of things to say.

So what's gone wrong? Either the computer couldn't find the needed sequence, or the date had exceeded the current schedule. Both of those situations are um, human error. In a worst case scenario, water or gophers have gotten to the phone line and we are unable to communicate with the marquees. (not my fault)

So why do the words sometimes look like greek letters? It's one of two things… either the lights are burned out or it's been raining. When moisture gets into the circuitry, well, it's bad.

It's my birthday…

We have had hundreds of requests from all kinds of people to display different messages on the marquees. You know, things ranging from "tell everyone it's my birthday" to "I'm trying to sell my car." The policy as established by Cabinet is that only college sponsored events, performances, activities, or other related college information can be displayed. We do not advertise individual classes. We also sell no personal or advertising time. Get a newspaper.

Run my message all semester long…

No. Please pay attention to the rules. Messages will begin running 7 days prior to the event start date. Not all semester long. If you have an ongoing (e.g. once a month) event or activity, you need to submit a new request for each event.

Speaking of rules, please remember that requests for messages need to be submitted AT LEAST 7 days prior to your requested start date. Late submissions can only be processed as time permits.

Here's my request…

Submit a Marquee Display Request.

I have a question that you didn't answer in all of the previous (although interesting) information…

Please send your question to marquee@ohlone.edu. Thanks!