In 2003, Director of Media and Music Randy Woods contacted Fowler Inc. seeking help with the overhaul of their multipurpose church auditorium. The facility was constructed in Ft. Myers, Florida in the late 60’s and had experienced very few upgrades in the ensuing years. As the needs of the facility grew and changed the staff all agreed that a dramatic upgrade was needed to bring the room up to speed for it’s many uses.
The Village Church at Shell Point is in a unique position in that it is a fully functional house of worship while at the same time serving as the community center for one of the top rated retirement communities in the United States, Shell Point Retirement Community. Because of this relationship, the main auditorium serves as the primary worship facility for the church services on the weekends but also plays host to a myriad of events throughout the week. Events ranging from full orchestral concerts to dance troops to jazz orchestras all pass across the stage making for an extremely wide range of uses and technology needs.
The project was just getting into the detailed planning stages when Hurricane Charlie put everything on hold in 2004. The eye of the hurricane hit just North of Ft. Myers so Shell Point was spared the full force of the hurricane but sustained enough damage to many of it’s buildings to put the media project on hold. Wind speeds of 60-80mph caused substantial damage to the roof of the church building and repairs continued over the next couple of years. Once the building repairs were completed, the media upgrade project came back to life.
In late 2007 representatives from Fowler sales and engineering teams made the trip to Ft. Myers to examine the church auditorium and have a sit-down meeting with Randy and all of the players involved in the upgrade project. Because of the shared interest in the facility, The Village Church and Shell Point each had representatives present at the meeting to discuss potential uses and weigh everyone’s wants versus needs. Three national and two local audio/video companies were initially considered for the project but Fowler quickly won over the confidence of everyone involved by showing a genuine interest in the people involved in the process and listening to how each person had specific needs when looking to the future of the room.
After the initial round of meetings it quickly became apparent that a new sound system was at the top of the list for improvements. There were speech intelligibility problems in the room and an overall need for a more versatile system. Next on the list was making sure that everyone in the auditorium had a good view, no matter where they were seated. Image magnification would make this possible but not without an upgrade to the lighting system. Proper lighting is just as important to a video system as is the choice in cameras so the entire lighting system, and it’s antiquated control system, were slated to be gutted and rebuilt from scratch.
After five on-site visits and almost four weeks of installation time, the auditorium was transformed. Now with the ability to accommodate any guest performances, a full concert level sound system, an extremely versatile lighting system, and a complete high definition broadcast system to document all of the events, The Village Church is now a technology powerhouse. Feedback from the congregation has been unanimous in it’s praise and Shell Point has received the highest possible score on two recent national evaluations with comments about media versatility and execution being called out as particular high points in the facility.
iTunes: This post has a podcast video that goes with it, feel free to check it out!
Thu, March 26, 2009
by Josh Tate filed under