The Marion Buckelew Cullen Center is the first new building on the campus of Westminster Choir College in nearly 40 years. The 11,750 SF facility features a rehearsal room and three classrooms which are used for vocal practice and traditional instruction. With a maximum capacity of 220 singers, it is currently the largest choir rehearsal room in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Acentech provided acoustics, audiovisual and technology consulting services for the project.

The new rehearsal room was the focus of Acentech’s acoustical work. Before construction began, Acentech created an acoustic model of the space to simulate how proposed designs and variable acoustics elements affect what listeners will hear. Innovative features such as the specially assembled overhead reflector clusters allow excellent in-room communication. The room can also accommodate a variety of rehearsal configurations for differently sized groups. After the project’s completion, Westminster Choir College informed us it is exceedingly pleased with the final result, citing the room’s great sound and its range of flexibility.

Audiovisual systems designed for the rehearsal room include classroom presentation systems to support choral recordings, Smart Board technology, and a large two projector system for presentations. This system has a control booth, projectors enclosed in stow away housings, a ceiling microphone system for digital recording, and an instructor lectern with a touch panel control system. The AV and network infrastructure was designed by Acentech to accommodate distance learning equipment that may be added in the future. Westminster intends to stream live concerts for their online community and invite guest conductors, by video, to instruct classes.

The college required the highest speed telecommunications network available in order to capture and broadcast musical performances. The selected system is a state-of-the-art, robust 10G cabling infrastructure comprised of category 6A cable and termination hardware. Additionally, a wireless network was required to support the student and faculty demands of “bring your own device,” aka BYOD, accounting for up to 3 wireless devices per student. To ensure network reliability, Acentech’s drawings and specifications included detailed cable pull schedules that quantify the amount cables, jacks, patch panels, and network switches, as well as power and cooling for the communication room.

This space is LEED Silver certified.

In an interview with Rider News, Assistant Professor of Conducting Amanda Quist said, “The Cullen Center is a wonderful new addition to our thriving campus…with such an active campus, we were desperately in need of more spaces in which to rehearse. This new hall has been designed with the very best acousticians in the business, and it allows for a variety of choices for rehearsal configurations. Few college campuses in the country have a space as fantastic as this.”

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