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May 2004

Cornerstone Church, Maumee OH

By Melissa Berman

Recently, Cornerstone Church in Maumee, Ohio unveiled its new Performing Arts Center. Cornerstone Church offers a unique worship environment of traditional services in their 2600 seated sanctuary, and fun themed rooms for youth educational purposes. The themed rooms include a jungle children's room and a '50's themed diner for the teens, and several include video and audio in the rooms. The new Performing Arts Facility brings an additional 400- seat space to facilitate events that are larger than existing classroom space and require a more intimate setting than the sanctuary. The Shirkey Company, architect and construction manager for Cornerstone Church turned to Live Technologies, an A/V systems contractor company operating out of Columbus, Ohio, to design and create a space to be used for performance, for viewing movies, and as a television studio.


Dave Mead, the Live Technologies' principal involved with the design and installation, describes the concept: "Cornerstone wanted to create a facility that will enhance their expanded programming. The space would also be utilized for guest lecturers, as a concert venue, youth and adult performance space, a movie theater, and a television production facility. Audio, video, and lighting systems were to be a major component of this space.'


'Live Technologies was recruited by the architectural firm, The Shirkey Company, early in the development process to contribute to the overall design of the room, specifically in the area of acoustics." In collaboration with The Shirkey Company, Live assisted in the design of the stage and acoustic treatments for walls and ceilings in addition to the technical systems.


The design and development process took several months. Meetings with the representatives of Cornerstone, The Shirkey Company and Live Technologies were held to identify challenges and to coordinate how the technical systems were to integrate with the construction process. As challenges were identified, each representative of the design team would go back to their teams to provide specifications and identify solutions. Clean electrical power, impact on HVAC, acoustical isolation, structural considerations and the physical location of equipment were dealt with before the construction began. Coordination with the on-site electrical contractor for the running of conduit and pulling wire enabled the Live staff to minimize the number of job site visits to complete the project and to bring the project in on budget. Scheduling of the equipment delivery and on-site work was coordinated closely with Mark Hammer, the on-site representative for The Shirkey Company. As the project developed, two detailed Live Technologies project manuals were delivered to the job site; one for the project manager and one for the electrical contractor. This project manual included drawings that detailed rooms and areas where technical equipment was to be located, J-box locations and wire pull schedules, equipment cut sheets, and an explanation of how the system was to work. In Live's experience, they have found that providing extensive information to the construction team better assists in their understanding of the client and technical systems team's goals.


Project Manager, Mark Hammer, of the Shirkey Company noted, "The client liked the idea of being involved from the beginning and being asked what would work for them, not told." The functionality and material selection process were very important to the client because they wanted a system that would grow with them and work with their budget. The result was an expandable system that fit their needs now, with the ability and plans of growing in the future.


The performing space was configured to act as several different spaces in one. Visually, the performance space becomes a screening room with the unveiling of a Stewart 16.5' by 26' video screen, which is set to show both wide screen and standard video formats. The Barco projector remote is programmed to select which format is to be used and then drapes mask off the excess areas of the screen. The video screen can be used as a set backdrop during video production.


The ETC lighting system was designed to handle the traditional theatrical instruments, intelligent moving light fixtures and all house lighting in the seating area. There is an initial inventory of ETC Source Four elipsoidals , PAR fixtures, High End Studio Spot and Studio Color fixtures with distribution to allow for expansion. The lighting is configured onto three Thomas moving trusses, one of which is onstage and two over the house seating. For performance, the lighting system is controlled by an ETC Expression II console and a Unison control system is incorporated to handle events and house lighting when an operator is not needed.


Audio in the room presented some interesting issues for Live. The audio system needed to accommodate both surround sound for movies and a live reinforcement system for performance. Two Yamaha DME digital audio processors were selected to control the multi-function audio system and to recall its performance parameters. There are three settings on the processors: lecture, movie, and performance. The lecture and movie settings require no operator. If a group wishes to view a movie, all they have to do is select the movie preset button in the audio booth. The Movie Preset is configured to let a host or MC use CD or cassette playback and two wireless microphones, if desired.


In Movie mode, audio from each of the three ElectroVoice Xi1123 main speakers, with assistance from three delay speaker mid house, reaches every seat in the house while surround is provided by six ElectroVoice EVID 6.2 speakers. A Lexicon MC12 surround sound processor was selected to decode the audio from DVD and VHS sources.


The Lecture preset mode allows for operation of a laptop from onstage or in the control booth. No operator is required for the control of two wireless microphones with CD and cassette playback available from the system.


The Performance preset mode utilizes separate high frequency components within the left right and center speaker clusters to reduce the coverage pattern of each cluster to sixty degrees for more accurate audio reproduction in performance. Control of the performance system is executed through a seventy-two channel Yamaha DM2000 digital audio console. The DM2000 controls the main audio system, the monitors and also has the capability to send a separate four channel mix to the video control room located in the main sanctuary.


The system installed at Cornerstone is the only facility in the area with this kind of state-of-the-art design and equipment. Training of the Cornerstone Staff was an important component of the project. The Cornerstone Technical Director Hall Williams and his staff have successfully operated the system for a number of events and the response has been very positive. The sound, lighting, and video systems have been interfaced into a user friendly and professional multi-functional space for the client. The Cornerstone Church Performing Arts Center represents a view of the house of worship performance space of the future.

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