Covenant Presbyterian Church

[break]As Covenant Presbyterian Church moved into the 21st Century, staggering changes were taking place in the Naples, FL area. The most eye-opening is the explosive growth in young families. The median age of Collier County has dropped from 60 to 40 years of age. The biggest increase among new residents is young adults. This growth has been accelerated by an influx of immigrant families, adding to the surge of young people in the area.

As the landscape of greater Naples changed by this infusion of youth, Covenant was committed to build bridges to the future. Though it is a daunting challenge, they were not going to stand idly while values unravel and families disintegrate in a postmodern culture. It was their vision and biblical responsibility to reach the next generation. As part of a multi-year project, Covenant Presbyterian Church decided to build a new 700 seat, 33,000 square foot transcendent sanctuary in addition to classrooms, meeting rooms, loggia, and all the modern technology to reach today’s audience.

Paragon 360 was contracted as design-build partners for the design and installation of audio, video, lighting, and digital signage systems, and acoustics. The design started in early 2009 and the church opened its doors in July of 2011. Final phases of the project were completed in September.

The main focus of the church was the quality and intelligibility of the spoken word. “This was a real challenge in this space due to the fact that the architectural design of the worship center included a 60’ open Cupola over the stage area and a portion of the audience” stated Donnie Brawner, Paragon 360 CEO. “While the cupola was impressive it certainly added some work on the front end of the design process to find the best way to achieve perfect audio that was attractive. Not only were we dealing with the spoken word but also the praise and worship music in a very open space.

Dave Crane, Paragon 360 Audio Designer, had the challenge of creating the system that would exceed expectations. Dave explained “the approach was through the implementation of correct acoustic treatment along with a highly directional speaker system to keep acoustic energy away from reflective surfaces. We spent quite a bit of time finding a solution that really worked well in the model but was also attractive. There was nothing to hide the system in the design of this space. This cupola presented a number of acoustical hurdles.

A small line array system from Electrovoice was chosen and mounted high to stay out of sight lines while delivering the necessary coverage and pattern control. Two small powered subwoofers by Bag End were mounted in stage cutouts to augment the low-frequencies. The church had a strong desire to utilize an analog mixing console, so a Midas Verona was chosen. The console provides excellent sonic quality along with enough inputs to meet the future needs. Processing for the PA was from Biamp and amplification was from Electrovoice. Soundtube ceiling speakers were installed throughout the new facility within auxiliary areas and JBL Control surface mount speakers were utilized in the main entrance.

The acoustic design played a big role. The model created by Paragon 360 was comprised of cupola treatment, balcony front treatment, balcony rear wall, and ceiling treatment. “System performance is very high-quality both for the spoken word and for the music provided by choir and praise bands” commented Dave Crane. “It is remarkable considering the design of the room.”

The video system at Covenant was designed to be cutting edge but at the same time be esthetically pleasing and very unobtrusive. Christie HD projectors were used on the Dalite 16:9 rear-screen video screens with an Analog Way OPS300 presentation switcher. To further conceal technology, three Sony HD PTZ cameras were installed throughout the sanctuary to capture the worship experience with a true and crisp image. Vaddio PTZ camera controller was installed to allow precise camera movements while a Broadcast Pix Granite 1000 HD production switcher provides amazing ability for the church to create compelling live video productions. Paragon also provided digital signage systems which included six Panasonic plasma displays installed throughout the facility. Three Spinetix media players were chosen to provide graphics play-out for digital signage via an Extron matrix switcher.

The lighting system was designed with the new ETC Paradigm system which allows sophisticated facility-lighting and building systems integration. It does so with unprecedented flexibility and simplicity: a green-minded energy-management system that capitalizes on daylight-harvesting, occupancy sensing, and time schedules for maximum electricity, and budget savings. The stage-lighting system included over (70) ETC lighting fixtures and several additional ETC Source Four Pars for house-lighting. There were over (9) lighting positions that were designed to be concealed and esthetically pleasing. The custom built distribution boxes throughout the space carry 208V & 110V convenience power and access to (144) ETC dimmers. Over (40) Chauvet LED units were used for the lighting of the cupola area over the stage.

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