Case Study: Cumberland Regional High School

Client Profile

Situated in Cumberland County, New Jersey, Cumberland Regional High School is an academic and community facility focused on students, endeavoring to provide the best and safest educational environment possible.

The school has served the district for over 33 years, with this long time-frame, the school district recognized that is was time for an upgrade to the Performing Arts Center and Media Center to keep supporting students to be their best.

Built in 1988, the Performing Arts Center consists of a 450-seat proscenium theatre, control room, restrooms, scene shop and lobby with a dedicated entrance. The center is regularly at full capacity for a wide range of school and community events including musicals, lectures, presentations, and ceremonies

Also requiring significant upgrades to better support and focus on student wellness is the Media Center, which functions as a library, study area, and an open-concept classroom.

Client Challenge

The district’s objectives were to deliver significant upgrades to better support student learning and make sure the safety of both the Performing Arts and Media Centers were up to code.

Hewshott, along with Garrison Architects, were brought in by the district to refresh both facilities. After reviewing the existing conditions, collaborating with theatre staff, and identifying the desired outcomes, the design team began working on an improvement plan. Solutions to the challenges were devised by Hewshott and Garrison Architects.

As programming developed, the Media Center was renamed the Student Wellness and Instructional Center (SWIC). The school wanted to retain the open-concept flexible floor plan and computer stations but needed new features, including the ability to record and stream from an AV studio, e-sports room, and across all open areas. Additional classrooms, offices, a control room, and a library loft were also required. With such a significant addition and refresh, the functionality of the spaces necessitated integrated technology throughout. The quality of the SWIC was critical, encompassing its finishes, construction, acoustics, and technology.

Hewshott’s Solution

As Hewshott was assigned at an early stage of the project, we had the opportunity to significantly influence the design process and work alongside the architect to seamlessly integrate the latest and most appropriate technology into the spaces. This ensured that the final outcome was both innovative and functional for students and teachers alike.

For the Performing Arts Centre, Hewshott completed an initial inspection and identified various safety deficiencies, including theatrical systems that required continual maintenance with specialised lifts. Hewshott responded to this problem by designing a specialized rigging, curtain, and theatrical lighting system that enabled a safe and improved theatre. Lighting system upgrades were integrated into a network-based power and control system, and the house lighting upgrade provided increased illumination levels appropriate for learning.

For the SWIC, Hewshott modelled and analyzed all spaces for acoustics and designed and documented all technology systems, including broadcast systems.

The new AV studio within the SWIC included professional grade production facilities to allow students to experience a hands-on learning experience, helping to bridge the gap between theory and practical application. Studio equipment includes a pipe grid, permitter heavy weight black curtains, a green screen, LED lighting package, on-air indicator lights, teleprompter, confidence monitor, wireless IFBs, and three manned cameras. This equipment allows the students to develop advanced video production techniques and learn relevant industry and creative technical skills. Hewshott also provided performance specifications for the studio set to be built by the school.

Hewshott devised the two AV classrooms in the SWIC to both have I/O connectivity to the control room. This allows centralized management and control of the AV equipment in the studios and also the ability to share content to and from both the studios and control room.

Hewshott designed the control room to be equipped with a digital audio mixer, lighting console, control system touch panel, video switcher, camera control panel, scopes, multiple monitors for viewing sources and destinations, and a PTZ controller. There are two channels of internet radio and local Bluetooth, which can be selected from in the open area and e-sports room.

Production intercom is available throughout the SWIC. An equipment rack houses network switches, patch panels, video converters, amplifiers, a digital signal processor, wireless microphone receivers, and UPS units.

The e-sports area was also designed to a professional grade, featuring dynamic color-changing downlights and a cove lighting system.

Audio and video feeds can be selected from any of the gaming stations for in-room listening and viewing. Each gaming station has a POV camera and independently controlled player lights.

Assistive listening systems have also been installed and is available throughout the SWIC and the Performing Arts Center.

Project Highlights

Hewshott was commended for their attention to detail and the excellence they brought to the project.

Once construction was complete, the district unveiled the enhanced theatre and the new Student Wellness and Instruction Center to the students, staff, and administration. The entire community were thrilled to see the investment in the arts and a newly upgraded digital learning environment implemented in a strategic and beneficial way. The revamped theatre and SWIC are now well-equipped, safe, and ready to support the students and programs for many years to come.

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