Strasburg School District in Strasburg, Ohio contacted Next Industries during their final stages of construction for their new K-12 school as the building had some unique acoustical challenges that were not satisfied by another acoustical company during primary construction.
“The multipurpose area used as a cafeteria and auditorium, affectionally called the ‘cafetorium’ presented the greatest challenge.” Stated Jeff Hartman, Acoustical engineer at Next Industries. ”We were tasked with creating an environment in which during performances on the stage the room would present enough livelieness to all acoustic projection evenly throughout the audience during events and presentations with proper sound stage presence from the loud speakers as well as the back stage area. Another goal of the space was reducing the reverberation time as well as minimize standing waves within the large space which increases speech intelligibility and reduces background noise levels during lunch periods and other large group gatherings. The combination of effects from high ceilings, hard surface walls including partial exposed block surfaces and polished hard concrete flooring minimized the attenuation of first and second order reflections and allowed all sound to propagate freely throughout the interior space.”
By utilizing a combination of echoshield™ Pro series wall panels and dipole ceiling baffles, Next Industries was able to create an environment that meets the needs of the cafetorium environment. The echoshield™ Pro series ceiling baffles were arranged in an X,Y configuration to absorb transverse waves that emanated from any direction within the ceiling structure area. ”By utilizing our echoshield ™ Pro series baffles we have the flexibility of not only multiple mounting positions, but also we can configure the product to either be a single side absorber, or dipole to meet our needs.” Says Jeff.
Strasburg also presented Next Industries with the task of correcting the band and choir rooms as well. The previously installed acoustic treatments in these spaces provided very minimal absorption and were ineffective in the role they needed to play. Jeff cpntinues to explain, ”A choir room does require a certain ‘air’ or ‘liveliness’ to allow fundamental and other harmonics to combine to form musical harmony from a singing group. The reverberation time and imaging of the room needs to be controlled so each individual voice can be localized within the room by the conductor or teacher so that they are effective in their ability to instruct each student. During design and installation, we also provided pointers on seating arrangements within the room to increase the effectiveness of the acoustic design.”
“Band rooms can be a nightmare to control acoustically. Percussive instruments with the ability to easily produce 90dB or greater without amplification are intermixed in an enclosed space with wood wind, brass and other more subtle instruments. Such spaces require a greater emphasis on reducing not only reverberation time caused by first and second order reflections from perimeter spaces, but also attempt to balance the room tonality so that overlapping frequencies and fast impulse percussive instruments all stand out in the stereo field without being lost. The absorptive control is key as human hearing is very keen on perceiving impulses such as those from percussive instruments. By controlling the reflections, the human ear can more readily focus on other instruments during performances. This balance is where Art meets Science”, Jeff concludes.
The use of echoshield™ Pro series wall panels and dipole configured ceiling baffles were again selected and carefully arranged to meet the acoustic needs of each of these rooms. In addition, Next Industries worked with the school directors to pick a color scheme that emphasized the schools colors. Once the project was finished and all acoustic goals were met, students and teachers alike not only noticed the improved ambience, but they were also astonished by the decor.