Posted in news on September 8, 2015 12:53 pm EDT

Case Study: When Lightning Strikes

An Oklahoma church undergoes damage repair after it's zapped in an electrical storm that demolished the main building's electrical systems -- and all connected lighting and audio equipment.

Highpointe Church in Oklahoma City, Okla.


 

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TAGS: acoustics, avl design, renovation, sustainability,

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By Church Designer Staff

Highpointe Church in Oklahoma City, Okla., called on 35-year-veteran systems integrator and designer Enginuity based in Tulsa to design and install new systems for the 1980s-vintage, 680-seat sanctuary, including a state-of-the art PA system from Fulcrum Acoustic.

"The lightning strike was apparently a static air burst that came through the wiring in the ceiling, destroying everything local in the building. Thermostats exploded, the main power transformer was ruined, wiring melted throughout the building."

—Tom Johnson, Enginuity, CIO

"The conduit in the floor had previously collapsed, and much of it had melted wire that we couldn't get out." says Tom Johnson, Enginuity's CIO. After months of assessing the damage and dealing with insurance, Enginuity was approved to outfit the church's next-door youth center so the congregation could worship there while the main building was being repaired. In the end, the project cost $2.6 to $2.7 million and took 19 months. "Everything had to be redone," recalls Johnson. "We built a new electrical room and installed a new transformer, which was cooled and sound isolated. We did extensive acoustic work and built a new set design for the stage. When we installed the new sound system, we couldn't use the old conduit, so we ran redundant CAT5 and audio lines to the speaker boxes. All of the wiring fit in a 1 ¾-inch conduit."

Highpointe is an Assembly of God church with contemporary services. "It's a rock 'n' roll church with a seven- to nine-piece band," Johnson reports. "The music pastor is a studio musician, and the praise band plays contemporary Christian music and songs off the radio. Sometimes they bring in professional guest artists. They play louder than in most churches we've done, so they needed a very powerful and precise system that could deliver the sound just to the seats and nowhere else."

To accomplish this, the Enginuity team chose three custom-built Fulcrum LCR clusters, each with three powered DX1565AC dual 15-inch cabinets with 60-degree vertical by 40-degree horizontal dispersion-an unusual configuration. (Fulcrum Acoustic DX-series three-way loudspeakers provide the output and pattern control of two low-frequency transducers in an enclosure size that would typically house a conventional two-way system.) The center boxes have rotated horns. Each of the nine cabinets is driven by two 1,500 watt modules for a total of 3,000 watts per cabinet.

"We use four powered FA28ac dual 8-inch coaxial loudspeakers as front fills, plus four dual 15-inch TS215 direct-radiating subwoofers in the center of the stage, which are tied only to the center cluster," Johnson explains. "For sub-lows, we have four TS221 dual 21-inch direct-radiating subwoofers that are ground-stacked on the left and right of the stage. We power the subs with Powersoft K20 2-channel power amps that put out a total of 32 kW. The PA is awesome; the output is unbelievable. And yet, with all the lighting and stage stuff, you're not looking for the speakers, so visually they almost disappear."

DSP is supplied by two Symetrix units. The church's Yamaha CL5 digital mixer is Dante-equipped and connected via fiber to the neighboring youth building so audio can be sent bidirectionally between buildings. In a job this extensive, almost everything is a challenge, but the rigging for Highpointe Church was especially complicated. "We had one of the most extensive rigging bills on this job that we've had," remarks Johnson. "The roof is 62 feet high, and we could only fly the loudspeakers in a few places. The stage had been added to three different times, and each time they built a new ceiling, one on top of the other.

The triple ceiling was a rigging nightmare! The two main support beams are 12 feet tall and 2 feet wide, and we drilled through those and made custom rigging mounts, while making sure we were only putting sound where seats are. We had to use all custom hardware." The building seats 680 worshipers on the ground and has a wraparound balcony that is not currently used. In the initial remodel, no sound was aimed at the balcony but in the future, stadium seating will be installed from the floor up to the balcony, and the Fulcrum system will be expanded to serve that area.

 

 

 

Learn more about the companies in this story:

Fulcrum Acoustic

 

Enginuity

 

 

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