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Community Loudspeakers Make the Grade at Ashford University

May 2, 2011

Clinton, IA - The campus of Ashford University has seen many changes throughout its long history. First established as a girls' boarding school in 1893, the school turned its focus to higher learning in 1918 and became Mount St. Clare Junior College. Over the next five decades, several buildings and facilities were added to the campus, and in 2005 the college was purchased by Bridgeport Education, Inc., and became Ashford University, kicking off a new round of expansions.

In late 2010, Bridgeport acquired 128 acres of land from the nearby Clinton Country Club. Approximately 30 acres were slated for the University's new $4.6 million Soccer and Track & Field Complex. The recently completed first phase of the complex includes temporary bleacher seating for 500, with future plans to build a 10,000-seat stadium around the field.

An integral part of the new Athletic Complex is a state-of-the-art sound system designed to cover the entire playing field, as well as the future stadium area. The system is based around Community Professional's R-Series weather-resistant loudspeakers. As Mark Van Hoosier of Davenport, IA-based Electronic Communications Systems (ECS) explains, the design challenge was to provide voice reinforcement for a 10,000-seat stadium, as well as controlling that sound to minimize reflections into neighboring residential areas.

"We chose Community's R-Series for their exceptional intelligibility and well defined sound projection capabilities," says Van Hoosier. "Of course, being an outdoor venue, weather resistance was another critical factor."

The system includes two Community R2-694Z loudspeakers for short-throw coverage, and two R6-51 loudspeakers for long-range. Since this phase of the construction included no physical buildings, the assembly was mounted atop a 65 foot pole at the near end of the field. Rigging for the speakers was provided by Hadley, MA-based Polar Focus. Amplification for the system is courtesy of Crown CTs-Series power amps, with signal processing covered by BSS London BLU-800 systems. The system also includes Shure ULXP wireless systems, with inputs at the 50 yard line on either side of the field connected to the main equipment rack by fiber optics.

In addition to a highly compressed schedule, the project's challenges also included severe weather that made installation and aiming of the loudspeakers even more difficult. Van Hoosier gives exceptionally high marks to Community's engineering and technical support, as well as A/V design consultants KJWW, of Cedar Rapids, IA, and adds that the client is exceptionally pleased with the results. "We've received many positive comments, both from the University and the general public about the quality of sound at the venue."