The recently completed expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC) in downtown Philadelphia is, to date, the largest public works project in Pennsylvania history. The Convention Center, first opened in 1993, was expanded by four full city blocks as part of a 20-year plan to renew Philadelphia's downtown City Center District, a once-struggling area that has seen tremendous economic growth in the two decades since the revitalization efforts began.
The expansion has earned PCC a ranking as one of the ten largest convention properties in the country. It now spans a massive 2.3 million square feet - 20 acres in the heart of downtown Philadelphia - and features two large ballrooms and seven exhibit halls, ample space to hold two major conventions and several smaller events simultaneously.
"One of the important elements of the expansion project was the installation of a professional quality audio system that would deliver evenly distributed, clear and natural sounding music and speech reproduction throughout these large spaces," explained Larry McIntyre, senior consultant at Acentech, the award-winning acoustics, audiovisual, and vibration consulting firm who designed PCC's new audio system.
The sound system, installed by the Philadelphia offices of AVI-SPL, is used not just for delivering music and general announcements, but also to deliver emergency voice notifications. This makes system integrity a critical aspect.
As McIntyre explains: "We incorporated Community's CLOUD12 Loudspeakers into the system design because of their reputation for outstanding quality and sound reproduction. The fact that they are locally produced was an added benefit."
Acentech's audiovisual consultants designed a highly flexible network-based digital audio system utilizing more than 400 Community CLOUD Series 1266, 1266T, and 1299T loudspeakers. Audio distributionthroughout the expansion is provided via a CobraNet-basednetwork that also interfaces with the main building's analog audio system. Biamp AudiaFusion amplification powers the expansion system. "We designed the sound system with various controllable zones which we kept small so that any zone failure wouldn't prevent delivery of the emergency voice notification," reports McIntyre. "Each zone consists of an amplifier output circuit, wiring and an assortment of Community CLOUD Loudspeakers. Each amplifier is also monitored and fully redundant."
"AVI-SPL is honored to have played such a critical role in the largest public works project in Pennsylvania history," added Tom Kelley, AVI-SPL's General Manager. "Working with valued partners like Community and Biamp Systems, our team implemented a multifaceted audio system that delivers music, general announcements, and emergency notifications, all while maintaining complete system integrity."
"We're very pleased with the end result. The system provides the control and monitoring we need with great sound quality," McIntyre says.
Apparently, the project has made its intended impact on the local economy. Convention bookings and attendance have increased more than 25% since the completion of the convention center's expansion.