David Kepke delivers the cool factor
Last summer, David Kepke ’81 breathed new life into the Undergrounds Café, the student entertainment venue deep in the University Union basement. He designed and built a new multimedia system, transforming the often-forgotten space into the place to be for viewing parties, video game competitions, presentations and more.
“[Vice President Brian Rose] told me the café was grossly underutilized, and he wanted it to become a destination for students, something that would keep them on campus,” Kepke says.
Binghamton students would be hard-pressed to find something of equal size or with a similar cool factor nearby. Kepke’s creation has nine 55-inch flat-panel video displays spanning 12 feet wide by 7 feet high. The seven speakers and two subwoofers are capable of blasting out a whopping 6,000 watts of audio. With five DIRECTV receivers, two computer connections, a campus cable box, Blu-ray player, Xbox, Wii and other gadgets, no student should ever be bored.
“This is almost like a NASA control room. You can watch nine different feeds, one huge image or a combination,” Kepke says. “Even before the installation was complete, during new student orientation, student after student came by and said, ‘This is incredible!’ One family stopped by every hour to check on the progress and were amazed when they saw the final product.”
Kepke has run his Westchester County-based custom electronics business for 15 years, working on hundreds of projects, but says the Undergrounds is his sentimental favorite. He says that his Binghamton experience is important to him — including meeting his wife, Heidi Goldstein ’81 — and hopes that this project helps turn the Undergrounds into a place where students can make their own great memories.
“I was thrilled to see the old Pub seats in the Undergrounds,” he says. “This project was fun on its own merits, but the fact that it was at my alma mater made it very special to me.”