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Center Stage

Center Stage

New Audiovisual System Becomes Student Centerpiece at Saint Joseph’s University.

Earlier this year, the Maryland-based technology design and consulting firm RJC Designs Inc. received an exciting challenge: transform a former chapel on the Saint Joseph’s University Maguire campus in Philadelphia into a vibrant multipurpose student center. Not only would this venue welcome prospective students, but also enhance the educational process and campus life. To create such a dynamic environment, Richard Ctoluzzi, RJC Designs Inc. president, and his technology team created a design that while bringing a modern multi-media experience to the space, complemented the chapel’s original vaulted ceilings and design. Specifying proven AV products, such as sound reinforcement products from Community Professional, was, as always, part of the design strategy.

Investing in Tech

Central to the Saint Joseph’s University mission is preparing students for real-world challenges; the school says that it is at the forefront of utilizing innovative technologies to promote learning. These technologies are widely integrated into the educational process, both in class and beyond, according to the mission statement.

In the newly renovated Cardinal John P. Foley Campus Center, previously called the Campus Commons, high-tech tools are blended into the venue’s contemporary décor. “It took a collaborative vision between technology and architecture to work through the challenges,” Coluzzi told AV Technology magazine in September. Project architect Jim Cornwell of Metro Architects/Narbeth, Pennsylvania, worked closely with the technology team in the development of the center. The feat is indeed impressive—an architectural and technological achievement. Though the new Center is no longer a chapel, the school hopes that this space continues to inspire and inform the community.

Versatility & Image Clarity

At the heart of this system is a Draper retractable 108”x192” 16-x9-foot screen for ceiling-mounted front-firing projection via a WUXGA, DLP-based Panasonic projector. Along the wings of the main screen are buffer walls with flush-mounted 60-inch Sharp LED monitors. High-definition, crystal clear imagery is the expectation in a venue of this caliber, and this system delivers, Coluzzi says. Depending on the event and audience size, these side areas can be used as separate presentation spaces or tied into the main display’s content distribution system.

Coluzzi explained that versatility of the space and its technologies were key. HDMI, DVI, Component, and other digital and analog sources are available at the buffer walls and front presentation area. The LED monitors are also tied into the St. Joseph’s campus digital signage and information network to display updated content from school representatives. CAT6/UTP infrastructure was used to connect the digital sources throughout the building. Aside from its technical advantages, this reduced the size and quantity of the conduit and raceways needed. The AV operation is managed via an Extron control system via a lectern-mounted concealable touch screen. When a lectern is not part of the event a wall-mounted touch panel is available. Aurora Multimedia products were used as the digital matrix switching and distribution technologies.

Sound Reinforcement

The Foley Campus Center can seat hundreds of people, so the RJC team integrated a robust audio system for sound reinforcement, ensuring that audio playback or live sound is heard clearly in every inch of the venue. The program audio system was integrated into the Center’s front walls architectural detail to blend with the unique chapel’s design. The bi-amplified system utilizes Community loudspeakers and individual subwoofers. A separate bi-amplified full-range voice reinforcement system was also designed for audio quality and intelligible speech reproduction.

Coluzzi said that Community loudspeakers and subwoofers were chosen for this project due to their versatility, quality, and consistent performance. Their product and engineering knowledge and support is excellent. Community products used were the iBox iHP3594 and i215LVS series speakers for program reinforcement and the Entasys Series and VLF series speakers for speech reinforcement.

A combination of wired and wireless microphones meets the diverse needs of SJU’s events such as lectures, presentations, small performances, student group meetings, and conferences.

In an era of increasing reliance on remote/ distance learning, on-site amenities like the Foley Campus Center remind us of the uniqueness of campus life. Having a vital media area with advanced and versatile technologies available will make campus events more inviting and ultimately more memorable for SJU’s faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, and alumni. The iconic new Center will serve as a school centerpiece long into the future.

Robbie Watts is a writer and researcher for AV Technology magazine.


RJC Designs Inc.
Community Professional Loudspeakers
Metro Architects
Saint Joseph’s University

Equipment List (partial)

  • * Aurora HDMI Transmitters and Receivers
  • * Aurora DXM-2424 matrix router
  • * Biamp AudiaFLEX CM
  • * Community iHP3594 speakers / i215LVS subwoofers
  • * Community Entasys Full Range and VLF208 subwoofers
  • Draper 108”x192” 16:9 Projection Screen
  • * Extron Control System IPCP 505 / TLP 700MV/TLP 1000MV
  • * Mulnix media lectern
  • * Panasonic PT-DZ8700U DLP-based WUXGA projector
  • * Sharp 60-inch PN-E601 LCD monitors
  • * Shure microphones ULXP 124/58 system