When West Virginia University's (WVU) trio of sports facilities needed upgrades to their production audio systems, the Morgantown campus turned to Metinteractive, which provides strategic solutions for architecture, communications and technology.
Metinteractive furnished new drive-side production audio systems for Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium, the 60,000-seat stadium for the Mountaineers NCAA Division 1 FBS football team, and the Coliseum, a 14,000-seat domed multi-purpose arena that's home to the Mountaineer basketball team. In addition, Metinteractive provided anew audio systems for the indoor Caperton Practice Facility, adjacent to Mountaineer Field; it features a 90-yard FieldTurf and more than 75,000-square-feet of practice room.
The work began with a site survey at WVU just prior to the start of the coronavirus pandemic and continued during 2020 despite the challenge of obtaining some equipment during that time. The Coliseum and stadium design build projects were done under the auspices of Kevin Day at WJHW, Inc. in Irving, Texas. Metinteractive's technology upgrades were prompted by the replacement of the scoreboards by ANC at both venues.
d&b and a Welder's Torch for the Domed Coliseum
The domed Coliseum, which has a flown tech catwalk, had previously bolted its loudspeakers to the top of the scoreboard. "Integrating the speakers into the new scoreboard was visually a no-go and speaker weight was also an issue," says Metinteractive's director of design Keith Book. "We couldn't hang 10,000 pounds of loudspeakers from the tech catwalk, a grid that was never designed to hold that kind of weight."
Metinteractive brainstormed with Eastern Sign Technology to deliver the solution: welding attachment points for the loudspeakers around the dome's weight-bearing oculus and designing a unique rigging structure around the ring that permitted speaker adjustment during the install for even coverage of the space.
Additionally, two new racks were placed on the tech catwalk with a d&b amplification system. A QSC Core 110 audio processing system was built into a downstairs rack, and an Allen & Heath SQ-5 digital mixing console was installed in the arena. All are Dante interconnected.
A Significant Stadium Upgrade with JBL, Crown & Meyer Gear
In the Milan Puskar Stadium Metinteractive interfaced with ANC engineers to develop loudspeaker locations in the truss work of a new and expanded LED scoreboard. JBL VLA 901 and 601 loudspeakers were selected along with Crown networked amplifiers and three Meyer Sound SB3F parabolic speakers.
"The stadium system is very powerful and easily heard," said Book. "It represents a significant upgrade over the previous system." Bob Hanlon of Sound Associates helped tune the PA.
Book used an old Broadway trick for the near field area of the stadium. "We used a single line array element at the quarter point at the top of the scoreboard to fill this area," he explained. "Two VLA 901s provide just enough energy to go down the rake and not spread out."
Metinteractive used EASE acoustic simulation software to model the stadium's line array system for proper coverage of the lower bowl and upper mezzanine areas. They designed two line arrays per side. Meyer SB-3F long-throw, parabolic speakers with very limited frequency ranges were leveraged to reach the opposite end zone while limiting how much energy was lost from the stadium. Placing the SB-3Fs over the top of the scoreboard for the far-end feed helped contain the energy and keep it from spilling into a hospital zone located by the end-facing scoreboard.
Fulcrum Acoustic for the Practice Facility Upgrade
In the Caperton Practice Facility Metinteractive installed a new ceiling speaker system that offers a permanent solution for music playback for team workouts. Book shepherded the design by Jack Covert of AJP Audio Services featuring eight-inch loudspeakers and 15-inch subs from Fulcrum Acoustic. Once again, EASE modeling software helped determine proper equipment placement before the install.
Metinteractive also hung left and right 12-inch loudspeakers and 18-inch subs from a new LED video board from ANC. The new system now offers full audio and video for playing back footage during practice and displaying visuals for others hosting events in the space. A digital transport for audio and video provides easy touchscreen control options; two channels of wireless Shure microphones are available to the coach and event clients.
"WVU was an extensive project done at a very challenging time," says Book. "But projects always go so much more smoothly when there's cooperation from the top. We were fortune to work with a group of people who were understanding, responsive and wanted the best solution and were committed to getting it."
Ryan Guthrie, WVU's Electronic Media Technician Senior, concluded, "One of the things I've been most impressed with is the service after installation and the relationship that has developed between Metinteractive and the folks in our department. Not once have we reached out to their techs and not gotten a prompt response. They take the time to explain things during the install and are very gracious with their time when we need to be reminded of a function or feature of the system or devices. Everyone I've worked with at Metinteractive has made the effort to get to know all our needs. Also, the partnership with ANC has been particularly beneficial, giving us a one stop shop to enhance the fan and participant experience at our athletic venues."