Loyola Blakefield is a Jesuit preparatory school for boys in grades 6-12 that has operated since 1852. Its 60-acre campus in Towson, MD boasts several academic buildings and an array of student-centered facilities, such as a spacious dining hall, athletics complex, and common areas.
With a wide array of activities and programming on campus, performances and presentations take place in several locations. When it came time for the school to upgrade its Dining Hall with an improved sound system, it was important to meet a vision that saw the space as a flexible and dynamic setting bolstered by an integrated audio system.
Related: The Technology Manager's Guide to Campus Tech (opens in new tab)
Steve Morill, IT director for Loyola Blakefield, envisioned the many possibilities for the space with the deployment of a state-of-the-art system. Morill manages the school's technology infrastructure needs and understands the influence and importance of audiovisual tech in a learning environment, including its unique role in content sharing and comprehension.
“This system allows our facility to be used for everything from morning prayer to emergency announcement,” Morill said. “It is a popular space for special events of many sizes with ever-changing seating arrangements. We want to offer the best possible learning environment for our students, and this space posed many challenges—the Lee Hartman and Renkus-Heinz teams did a great job for us.”
From providing audio support for guest speakers and professional development programming to welcoming incoming students and their parents, Loyola Blakefield needed a sound system that could provide the flexibility, reliability, and intelligibility required for both daily use and special events.
“We explored a couple of manufacturers when we first looked at the space,” said Mike Flaherty, sales engineer at Lee Hartman & Sons, Inc. “We had concerns about the aesthetics, and we didn’t want to invade the space with too many speakers. However, we wanted to ensure that the sound worked well in this acoustically challenging area.”
The Dining Hall at Loyola Blakefield is not a traditional school cafeteria. It has a crisp, modern look that incorporates woodwork and stained-glass windows. The need to keep audio away from those reverberant surfaces was key to a successful design.
To achieve this, the project relied on Renkus-Heinz’ ICLive X Series, which makes use of Renkus-Heinz’ cutting-edge digital beam steering technology. With Renkus-Heinz digitally steerable arrays, integrators are empowered to put sound where it’s wanted: on the audience.
Further, Renkus-Heinz allows for custom color designs on most products, ensuring that speakers always blend in with the surrounding space.
The Loyola Blakefield Dining Hall now utilizes two arrays of ICLive X loudspeakers. Each array is made up of two ICLX units, which provides a perfect fit for the space and allows for meetings of all sizes to be hosted when food service isn’t active.
Renkus-Heinz TA62s are also installed in the front side corners of the space to evenly fill and complement the ICLX's in the Dining Hall. The TA62 systems use another cutting-edge Renkus-Heinz technology: the Complex Conic constant directivity waveguide design, which ensures consistent coverage across a space. A pair of TX-61’s is installed on the balcony level ensure coverage across the entire area.
"Once we had the speakers installed, we spent about 20 minutes aiming the beams through the RHAON software," said John Hurley, engineer at Lee Hartman & Sons, Inc. "The sound went from pretty good when they weren’t aimed at all, to truly amazing.”