The 60-acre campus of the Loyola Blakefield Jesuit preparatory school in Towson, Maryland, hosts academic buildings and student-centred facilities such as a spacious dining hall, athletics complex and common areas. Attended by boys in Grades 6-12, the school’s mission pairs academic experience and spiritual education in the Ignatian tradition. It also supports elective and co-curricular activities for its 940-plus students – including athletics, performing arts, cyber science, and speech and debate.

Loyola Blakefield Jesuit preparatory schoolWith such a wide range of activities and programming, 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 that the space be made as a flexible as possible

‘This system allows our facility to be used for everything from morning prayer to emergency announcement,’ says. Loyola Blakefield IT Director Steve Morill, who manages the school’s technology infrastructure needs, and understands the importance of audiovisual tech in a learning environment, including its role in content sharing and comprehension.

‘It is a popular space for special events of many sizes with constantly-changing seating arrangements. We want to offer the best possible learning environment to 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,’ says Lee Hartman & Sons Sales Engineer, Mike Flaherty. ‘We had concerns about the aesthetics, and didn’t want to invade the space with too many loudspeakers. However, we wanted to ensure that the sound worked well in this acoustically challenging area. It became obvious with those needs that we’d be going with Renkus-Heinz.’

One of the Dining Hall's two ICLive X arraysThe Loyola Blakefield Dining Hall is not a traditional school cafeteria. It has a crisp, modern look that incorporates woodwork and stained-glass – surfaces it was necessary to keep audio away from in order to control room reverberation. To do this, the project called on Renkus-Heinz’ ICLive X Series, and Renkus-Heinz’ digital beam steering technology. Further, the choice allowed for custom colour options, ensuring that speakers blended in with the surrounding space.

The Dining Hall uses two arrays of ICLive X loudspeakers – each comprising two ICLX boxes – allowing 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 ICLXs in the Dining Hall. The TA62 systems use another proprietary technology, the Complex Conic constant directivity waveguide, which ensures consistent coverage across a space. A pair of TX-61s are 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,’ says Lee Hartman & Sons Engineer, John Hurley. ‘The sound went from pretty good when they weren’t aimed at all, to truly amazing.

‘You always end up impressed by Renkus-Heinz,’ he adds. ‘You know when they are part of the integration that the job is going to be done very well, and the customer will be beyond happy – that was the case at Loyola Blakefield.’

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