There’s something to be said for versatility when it comes to systems integration.
It came in extremely handy for Inter Technologies Corporation in Raleigh, N.C., when they signed on to install almost 20 different systems in the France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center at Purdue University.
Although Inter Technologies is used to working on “very large projects,” says director of quality control Dale Miller, this job, which was focused on the expansion of a 1957 building — the first U.S. university building created solely for recreational sports — from 148,700 square feet to 355,000 square feet, offered some unique challenges.
The renovation and expansion cost Purdue more than $100 million.
At the heart of the massive installation—which includes conference rooms, multipurpose rooms, gyms, a demo kitchen and video walls—is the Biamp Systems AudiaFLEX, which helped Inter Technologies create one large DSP audio network across the entire facility.
Inter Technologies installed 18 AudiaFLEX units, with many of the units pulling double duty — operating as room audio processors as well as performing paging and background music functions across 40 zones. Most zones feature automatic ambient noise compensation devices for room volume control.
Inter Technologies also installed a 4 x 4 video wall featuring 60-inch Sharp screens with an Extron quantum processor, and the open spaces throughout include interactive touchpanels. The video wall represents “the new jewel in our portfolio,” says project manager Clinton Wimberly.
The entire integrated system is controlled via a single Crestron touchpanel at the reception desk. The programming allows for muting of individual zones as well as overall volume control.
Inter Technologies started working on their piece of the massive project in October 2012, with the building still under construction. They finished in June 2013, after working through programming, testing and troubleshooting from February through May, with a soft opening for the center in January. The biggest challenge throughout the work, says Miller, was working alongside several other subcontractors.
“We were the epitome of flexible,” says Wimberly. “Basically, we would get in when we could fit in.” Most of the work was done late at night throughout their time on campus, he says, at least until the soft opening, when night work was halted.
“It was very complicated, but we still had to get our work done,” says Wimberly.
The finished product has met with rave reviews since the center opened to the public about a year ago.
“We’re extremely happy with all the functionality we now have in our audio system,” says Bob Hannemann, technical operations coordinator for the rec center. “The zoned paging, background music, and conferencing capabilities give us all of the things we need to serve every type of patron.”
Wimberly isn’t surprised at Inter Technologies’ success with the job, although he knows it wasn’t an easy one to get right.
“We knew we could get it done quickly for a reasonable price,” he says.
Wimberly credited “strong lines of communication with the general contractor,” who works for Purdue, as one of the reasons the job went so smoothly.
“Clients don’t always know what they want until after the install,” he says. “You have to try to stay ahead of them in their desires.”
The market for video walls has expanded and so have the possibilities as these projects demonstrate.