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2008 Best Education AV Project

Since March, students at Santa Clara University (SCU) in Santa Clara, Calif., have had access to state-of-the-art technology in the campus's new Learning Commons.

The student-centered facilty was designed to support collaborative, team-based learning. All data and entertainment are handled over an unified network infrastructure.

The student-centered facilty was designed to support collaborative, team-based learning. All data and entertainment are handled over an unified network infrastructure.

Credit: Tim Griffith

SINCE MARCH, STUDENTS AT SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY (SCU) IN SANTA Clara, Calif., have had access to state-of-the-art technology in the campus's new Learning Commons. The 47-room building offers a wide range of meeting spaces, from the 22 six-person collaborative rooms to the auditorium-style Saint Clare room, with the collective goal of a creating a student-centered facility that uses technology to enhance team-based learning.

Todd Vrzal of San Jose–based Riverview Systems Group, who already had a good working relationship with the university, was brought in to integrate the $4 million project. “A lot of it went into just giving them cutting-edge technology. The equipment out there was pretty much the best you could get for your money,” he says. Each of the six-person rooms is equipped with a 57-inch NEC LCD5710BD flat-panel LCD, a Panasonic PT-DW5100U projector, and AMX control. Multiple video and computer sources allow students to share PowerPoint files, for example, and work on group projects, while separate viewing and taping rooms give them the capability to practice, record, and review their presentations.

A large portion of the budget went to the Saint Clare room, which includes a Panasonic PT-DW10000U, 10,000 ANSI lumen, 3-chip DLP projector with sources for connecting Blu-ray players, computers, and even linking other classrooms, says Vrzal. Four full-sized equipment racks with monitoring capabilities house the AV that gives the room the ability to host presentations, lectures, and panel discussions without bringing in additional equipment. An AMX touch screen mounted at the lectern allows the presenter to control everything from the lighting presets to the Vaddio Wallview 300 PTZ camera.

All of the presentation rooms have Web-streaming capabilities based on HaiVision MPEG-4 encoding/decoding, allowing students to view classes, lectures, and presentations in real time online, which Vrzal believes exemplifies the system's high-tech focus. Riverview Systems' own IT technicians worked closely with the SCU IT department to make sure all of the AV and IT components worked together.

And the feedback received since the Learning Commons' March 2008 grand opening attests to their seven-month-long collaboration. “The facility is indeed being used to its full potential,” says Vrzal. “It's nice to walk around there and see all of the kids really warming up to everything that's available to them. It's been a real positive response.”

AV INTEGRATOR

Riverview Systems Group, San Jose

AV CONSULTANT

The Sextant Group, Pittsburgh

ARCHITECT

Pfeiffer Partners Architects, Los Angeles



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