Hi-Tech High School Now in Session

Mar 16, 2004 12:00 PM, Editors

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It looks like a traditional school both inside and out, but at Christian Brothers College High School (Town and Country, MO; pictured at right) every one of the school's nearly 1,000 students has his own laptop. They log onto the local network via wireless Internet. Their homework assignments are online. There's not a black board or a stick of chalk on the whole campus.

The new facilities in Town and Country total 245,000 gross square-feet on nearly 25 acres. This includes 52 classrooms, 11 specialty classrooms (art room, fine arts room, biology labs, and computer instruction areas), a 3,000-seat stadium, a 380-seat performing arts center, a 300-seat chapel, a 500-seat dining area and a 1,800-seat gymnasium.

The phone system is a Vo/IP (voice-over/IP) system from Cisco, via the wireless network. Symetrix SymNet Audio Matrix system mixes, routes, and provides digital processing for audio from multiple sources, and allows for control of everything remotely. The SymNet system incorporates CobraNet technology (from Peak Audio) for transporting multi-channel audio and control data over the network to the TV Studio for recording and broadcast.

Audio is delivered to loudspeaker systems from Tannoy (www.tannoy.com) in 70 classrooms (a package of one powered ceiling subwoofer and four high-quality ceiling monitors), and to six other special venues or areas on campus. Ashley amps drive five of six sub-systems, with Crown amps driving the stadium system, and the SymNet system (with CobraNet interface) provides automated control of both mic inputs and audio out.

Voice intelligibility is the critical reason for high-quality audio. Language classes at CBC HS, for example, are built around access to Internet and DVD/CD materials. Other classes draw upon these resources as well.

Tannoy PowerLinx systems in the classrooms are self-contained. Ashley amps drive five of the six audio sub-systems, while Crown CT Series amps drive the stadium and paging system Tannoys. SymNet systems (network-linkable audio matrix DSPs from Symetrix) with a CobraNet (from Peak Audio) interface provides local control of the seven non-classroom audio systems.

The 358-seat, steeply raked theater has some 68 inputs in various locations, all "live" on the SymNet matrix. Operators can select different settings: for business meeting, a rental situation, or a full production. All are auto mixed with some inputs routed through a Mackie console and back through the loudspeaker system.

The stadium system consists of three Tannoy iQ1015 cabinets. As in the theater, audio for the stadium is controlled through the SymNet matrix. Operators can select a system setting for either a large or a small crowd for adjustment of overall gain. Beyond that, operators have three "knobs": one for program audio, one for press booth inputs, and one for field mics. All are auto-mixed, with limiters, and with an auto-ducking feature for when the announcer speaks. When the band comes on the field, the bandleader simply plugs in. The mics are live and the audio operator can't overdrive the system.

Though CBC High School is a fully functioning, state-of-the-art educational institution, that does not mean it will not continue to evolve. Plans are to build a TV production studio this summer that will rival similar facilities on college campuses. The facility will be available for students in the fall of 2004.






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