The addition of a PA system to a covered outdoor learning area can greatly improve the functionality of the space. This was the experience at Carlton Public School.
Outdoor areas provide an excellent venue for large school events, community gatherings and school PE lessons. Moving lessons outdoors into covered outdoor spaces gives students a break from the classroom. Educators, though, still need to be able to effectively communicate with students. In many cases, PA systems provide a practical solution.
Adding a PA system to a space removes the need for the constant use of equipment such as megaphones or loud hailers, or corded microphones. An in-built, easy to use system can transform a school COLA from a basic covered learning area, to a state-of-the-art performance and meeting venue.
Upgrades to the existing PA System
Looking to add to an existing covered outdoor learning area, which had recently been upgraded, Carlton Public School engaged Prolinx to fit the PA system. The school required a purpose-built system to be installed, that was easy to use and functional.
Zoran Aleksovski, Director at Prolinx explained the school’s brief. “The school requested a school COLA audio system to suit a newly upgraded area that included an outdoor stage. The space would be used for activities including school assemblies, performances, and community events.”
Wireless microphones needed to be accommodated in the area, as well as the ability to play music wirelessly. Sound would need to fill the entire COLA to ensure a great listening experience across the whole space. Simplicity, and ease of use were extremely important within the school’s brief.
The size of the space presented a challenge for the Prolinx team. “The area is quite large with a very high cover. Since the microphones and music all needed to be wireless, we designed a system with great coverage and reliable transmission,” Mr Aleksovski said.
“We started by mounting six 8-inch weatherproof outdoor speakers across the top of the COLA. Our intention was to make the sound uniform across the entire area. The amplifier selected was a 4 channel amplifier which had a built in DSP. This enabled us to EQ the area for better sound reproduction and balance.
“Our next hurdle was the wireless transmission for microphones and music. It was decided early on to mount external aerials for the microphone system and use a long-range bluetooth receiver that would cover the area.”
Mr Aleksovski explained that these audio systems can become quite complex. Recognising that schools are busy places, and a large number of different staff members would use the system, simplicity of design was paramount. “We spent some time designing an easy-to-use system so all staff were able to use it trouble free.”
Now, Carlton Public School can use the area to hold assemblies, with the whole school gathering in one covered location. As the area is covered, weather conditions have little impact on the usability of the area, making it functional year-round. Additionally, the need for the school to use more than one system in the space has been removed. The area, including the stage can be used for entire school assemblies and events.
Steven Mead, Carton Public School Principal said ease of use and suitability to the specific area for music and microphones were key considerations in the project. Prolinx was able to deliver on both these requests.
“We have enjoyed utilising the system for a variety of community events since the installation,” Mr Mead said.
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