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Campus Showcases Versatile AV

The new Kenyon College Athletic Center shimmers in glass and steel, providing a new focal point to the college's 1,000-acre campus in Gambier, OH. Impressive as the Athletic Center is from the outside, it's equally remarkable within, not only for the quality of its facilities, but also for the flexibility and quality of its building-wide audio and video systems.

More video displays enliven the weight and exercise room, which offers seven LG H27G 27-inch high-resolution TV monitors, and the varsity locker rooms, where users find another 10 JVC LCD high-resolution monitors provided by the college, tied to LG ZDX313 VCR/DVD units.

The physical installation of the systems presented a variety of challenges. The center had been designed as “a big hangar,” says Kestner, “and then they went through and erected a second floor in the middle.”

Executing cable pulls, and accessing equipment mounting points in the building's highest areas meant that lifts had to be delivered to the second floor. “Once the second floor had gone in, there were load restrictions on how much weight we could bring up there,” Kestner says. “It turned out there was only one type of power lift that met those weight limits, and there were just three of them in the entire state.”

The lifts SoundCom needed were Genie TZ-50s, which have a maximum working height of 55.5 feet, with a lift capacity of up to 500 pounds, and weigh about 4,400 pounds. Although they seemed to fit the requirements, finding them and getting them where they were needed weren't easy tasks.

Rather than let the lifts slip away, SoundCom committed to keep the lifts onsite, even when they weren't being used. “Even when we weren't using them, we paid for them,” he says, noting that each lift cost $1,400 per month, and that they were kept available onsite for six months.

Using the lifts on the second floor required that the AV install work be completed before the second level was completely enclosed in glass. “We had to have the construction manager use a grade-all to get the lifts up to the second floor,” Kestner says.

Cable pulls were also a bit tricky. Although the cable distribution system wasn't very complex, Kestner says, doing cable pulls up to 70 feet above the floor was an unusual scenario.

In all, SoundCom was onsite for 10 months. The Kenyon Athletic Center formally opened in April.


John McKeon is an independent consultant and writer based in the Washington D.C. area. He can be reached at His new novel, “Demented Choirs,” can be previewed at

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