Modern Government AV, Part 1
Mar 12, 2013 11:13 AM, WIth Bennett Liles
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An old Wapakoneta, Ohio courthouse with a complete interior renovation called for preserving the character of the building while introducing some very modern sound system technology. The county called in RG Sound and Communications. Shawn Snider is going to tell us how it all went in and turned out, coming up right now on the SVC Podcast.
SVC: Shawn, thanks for being here with us on the SVC Podcast from RG Sound and Communications in Celina, Ohio, and it looks like you had a big courthouse installation in the, how do you pronounce that one, Auglaize County?
Shawn Snider: That’s correct, yeah, Auglaize County Courthouse.
In Wapakoneta, Ohio. That name rings a bell. Isn’t that the home town of Neil Armstrong?
It is. It is, indeed. They actually have a pretty significant memorial to him in a museum with some pretty cool stuff. [Timestamp: 1:16]
I’ll be they do. They probably have stuff to him all over the place.
Yep. Yep, they sure do.
So this courthouse project was part of a complete renovation, but before we get into that, let me ask you about RG Sound and Communications. What sort of an outfit is that and what types of projects do you take on?
RG Sound has been around for a very long time, and I became intertwined with them when they built a house next to my parents’ when I was pretty young. I started doing some odd jobs for them when I was about 14, and now that I’m 27 I’ve been there a while. I would say they’re a small boutique sound shop. We specialize in a lot of things throughout the years. The R stands for Ralph and the G stands for Godwin, which was the founder. After World War II he came back from the war as an RF Specialist. He specialized in radio broadcast and he claims he was the first one to broadcast back from the Philippians across the ocean. So he originally was into all the RF industries, as far as two-way radios for police and fire, and one of his specialties were county fairs. That’s one of the way we got a start there, and we noticed that all these county fairs that needed two-way radios, their sound systems were pretty lacking. So he decided why don’t we just add that division to our company and he did. And that’s how we got started with the sound industry there. He started as kind of a boutique-specialized outfit, and today we still are the same thing. Our projects kind of consist of small, very specialized projects. We try to take on the things that other people kind of stay away from. We like the challenge, and that’s something that’s always just been a part of the company there, ever since I can remember anyways. [Timestamp: 3:02]
Well, this looks like a big job because from what I’ve read on it, it looks like they just tore the whole inside of the place out and started over.
Yeah, pretty much. Essentially that is what they did.
And what was going on there that they needed your expertise?
Well, just like you said. They were kind of starting over. It was a very old building, very outdated in many aspects, and they wanted a full update from just appearance to audio/visual. I think they got a whole new server room and racks and stacks. It was pretty significant. They got ahold of us because they kind of had a problem, and that problem was they needed audio and video to be displayed in matrix throughout the building and they needed that to be remote controlled from a closet that had no access. And there are a lot of companies that make remote controls out there, but the problem here was that everything was prewired from the architect so we had definite limitations here going into the project. [Timestamp: 3:57]
OK and did they just schedule around your work in one courtroom at a time or how long did all of this take? You had three courtrooms, right?
That’s correct. Yeah, they actually shut the entire courthouse down for quite a while, if I remember correctly. Now then, by the time they got to us in the AV bidding process, a lot of the courthouse had already been refinished. They set up a temporary courthouse in the municipal building next door, which was very nice. You know, we could go in essentially any time 8:00 to 5:00, or beyond if the night staff was there, and do our work and complete it. As far as time per room, it was pretty quick. I spent a lot of time researching projects that I felt would be a good fit, and when you find the right product you know because it just kind of fits in pretty seamless and you don’t have a whole lot of man hours in it. [Timestamp: 4:44]
So what did you do first when you got in there? What was your first step? Did you have to take the old sound system out or was that already done?
That was already done. Everything had been refinished. All the wiring had been done. The first step was actually to spec the room so the bidding process could begin. That’s kind of how our relationship began. They asked us to come and sort of create a list of things that they would need to accomplish their goals and then release that to the public, and then ultimately it would be bid on. And we did bid on that as well, and won the bid, which is how we then proceeded to the next step of installation. [Timestamp: 5:18]
And obviously one of the things of prime importance to them was the flexibility of the system to be able to accommodate and interface with any new gear coming down the line in the future as part of say, future expansions, renovations, or upgrades. What did you do to insure the future adaptability of this thing?
Right, yeah, that was very important, you know, because these updates to these buildings don’t happen very often and that was one of the things they stressed a whole lot. So what we decided to do is go with a couple of innovative products and something kind of new, non-traditional, and that is to incorporate a lot of networked processors. When I say a lot, I mean two per room. There’s only two processors that run the whole room. The first one, we went with the Ashly Protea-equipped Amplifiers. And basically what those are is an 8-channel amplifier combo unit. It’s two rack space and it has your eight inputs, it has your eight channels of amplifier output that you can bridge if you want to. Within the software, that can be networkable. That was one of the big points is that the technician, I should say the person that runs everything there, the person that manages all of the electronics. [Timestamp: 6:33]
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