Regina, Saskatchewan – The students of Sacred Heart Community School, an institution within the Regina Catholic School Division, recently moved into their brand new building after an 18-month construction period. The new state-of-the-art building has capacity for up to 700 students and the design includes learning spaces that are themed for various subjects and activities. The design of the new building considers that the school’s population ranges from pre-kindergarten through high school.

The paging system that was installed is a Cisco VOIP (voice over IP) system with phone stations using the InformaCast application as the paging server. The classrooms are outfitted with Atlas Sound IR Voice Enhancement Systems. In order to integrate the paging system with the classroom voice enhancement system, Sacred Heart called in Hillman AV, a Regina-based integration company that specializes in the design and installation of audio and video equipment in commercial spaces.

“We were originally brought in just to work with the paging system” says Jarrod Hillman, president of Hillman AV and project manager for this installation. “While discussing other types of systems that integrate with the voice enhancement, we came to the conclusion that it’s best to route everything through a central system, as this allows for full control of the audio throughout the building. This makes for a much safer paging and notification system.” The VOIP integration was achieved by using QSC’s Q-SYS Core 110f processor. Selected for its ability to work directly as a softphone, it also has the functionality to process audio from multiple sources. The projectors and voice enhancement systems from each of the 30 classrooms are fed to one of 5 Core 110f units spread across the building.

“QSC products are so versatile and can be easily adapted to accommodate the changes in classroom media use. The ability to expand and add to your audio system is also a big plus, especially for applications like Sacred Heart, where construction is still ongoing,” says Hillman. Partnering with SFM, the Canadian distributor for QSC products, Hillman AV designed this installation with budget and sound quality as their primary considerations.

“Originally we talked about finding a way to make every classroom function exactly the same, so that the teachers would never have issues, when moving from one classroom to the next. We also wanted to make sure that we future proofed for later expansion, and Q-SYS was a pretty natural fit on all fronts” says Steve Klotz, SFM’s pro audio sales representative for the Prairies.

The use of video and other media in the classroom environment has increased significantly over the past several years and the Regina Catholic School Division has embraced the use of these technologies in their curriculum and in their extra-curricular activities. As a result, it is vital to ensure that a voice page or a bell comes through to the entire school with clear intelligibility. The school’s emergency preparedness plan requires this degree of prioritized audio; routing the inputs and outputs from each classroom into a central system provides full control of the audio and allows for prioritized paging.

Each classroom is outfitted with QSC AcousticCoverage™ AC-C4T ceiling speakers. The speakers are powered by SPA2-60 plenum rated amplifiers that are easily concealed within the ceiling of the classrooms. There are also several AcousticCoverage™ AC-S4T surface mount speakers installed in areas where ceiling speaker installation is not possible.

A QSC I/O-22 peripheral unit is used to manage the inputs and outputs and allows for the possibility of expansion if needed. The IP capabilities of the Core 110f allow for each of the three floors to function as a separate system. Each system is networked to the Q-SYS platform, a powerful networked audio solution that allows for complete control over the hardware within each zone. Audio system design within Q-SYS is easily accomplished using the Q-SYS Designer software. Each zone is equipped with a TSC-3 touchscreen; the user-friendly interface is popular with the teachers and staff that need to access the zone control functions.

A gymnasium is currently still under construction and the paging system will easily be expanded to accommodate this new zone. The gym system will be designed using QSC E Series passive speakers, and will be integrated into the overall school system through Q-SYS as well.

 Technology has come a long way since the days when the teacher would roll in a large television on a cart and the volume would have to be turned up so that every student in the room could hear. As a result of their QSC audio installation, Sacred Heart Community School can now offer more modern and innovative learning opportunities to their students.