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Woodland Life Center’s Multi-Purpose Sanctuary Helps Build Community

Woodland Life Center recently built a new multi-purpose sanctuary, and installed a new audio system with the help of integrators SOA (Second Opinion Audio). We are a contemporary church, but with a cross-section of generations try to maintain a balance between modernized traditional and contemporary worship that speaks to all ages.

Our new sanctuary was designed specifically to be both a sanctuary and a multi-purpose room, with our intention to utilize our facility at maximum level to draw people in. This means that during the week, our sanctuary can be used as a recreation room, a gymnasium, a banquet hall…pretty much anything there’s a need for in our community. Our space fills a gap that existed within our community, and has allowed us to create a niche that nobody else is touching.

Building a multi-purpose sanctuary meant that the room needed to work on multiple levels; when you are playing basketball at our facility, you are playing in a repurposed worship space. We didn’t want it to feel like we were running worship in a gymnasium. We designed everything for the sanctuary with that philosophy in mind, including sound and lighting.

Our entire building is 11000 sq. feet, with about 9000 sq. feet of that an open worship area that runs about 50 feet deep and 90 feet wide. The sanctuary can sit 500 (portable seats that can be removed), with the stage centered auditorium-style (in the middle of a longer wall), to allow congregants to sit closer to the stage. The stage itself has two levels – the front level is a foot high, fifteen feet deep by 14 feet wide, and on lockable wheels, which allows us to roll it completely underneath the back part of the stage, which is two feet off the ground. All the gear on the stage stays when it is retracted, with the vocalists and wireless instrumentalists having the front stage to perform on. The floor is stained concrete, which allows us to do multiple activities without having to worry about protecting it; however, making the decision to have a concrete floor did become another factor in our audio, which was easily overcome by the Meyer CAL- 32 speakers we are using. Having a new, acoustically- balanced system has been very significant for our success, as it allows everyone to experience the same level of sound, the same energy, at any seat in the house.

Our main sound engineer, Daniel Estrada, used to work with Daryl Porter and Bob Langlois at SOA. When we first met with them and explained our vision for the room, they saw it right away and were able to present an entire solution for us. While the initial proposal for the AVL was significantly more than what we had initially planned on spending, it led us to a great discussion about what our goals were. We decided to bite the bullet and spend the money, and have had zero regrets.

It was important to us to do the build right the first time around; we didn’t want to compromise on our vision, and the extra money that we spent on sound and lighting only ended up being about 10% of the total building cost. Working with SOA allowed us to see that our initial assumptions on costs for sound and lighting were just not even in the correct ball park; we needed a big league system in our new building, and we were thinking little league.

We’ve only been in the new facility for eight weeks, and we’ve already made an impact with the community, including turning the room into a skating rink. This has led to an uptick in our attendance during worship.

SOA spent a lot of time training us, and their customer service has been awesome. Having that kind of peace of mind – where we can call them if there’s an issue or we are troubleshooting – and they help us out immediately, gives our entire team a feeling of complete confidence in our new sanctuary. We are very pleased with the end results, and know that our new facility will continue to make a positive impact in our community for years to come.

We approached our design for Woodland like we approach all our other designs, by viewing the drawings of the building and sanctuary first, and taking measurements to determine the best possible solution. In this case, we recommended Meyer CAL-32 series system for Woodland. Because of their excellent sound quality and beam steering, this presented the best solution as it allows us to focus audio energy on the seating and off the walls, floor and ceiling. Another benefit to the CAL-32s is that they’re made out of material that can take a hit by from a basketball or volleyball without taking any damage. There are two mounted on the walls on either side of the “proscenium”, with subwoofers beneath. Since the room is not very deep, and because we are able to focus the beam steering where needed, we can keep the sound level across the room, which means there isn’t a bad seat in the house.

We installed a MIDAS M32 32-channel digital console at front of house, with a DL32 onstage, with a P16 in-ear system for the worship band. Four channels of Shure wireless is deployed on stage for the worship band, and the pastor uses a DPA d:fine headset. By reducing cabling on the platform, the room is easily convertible from a worship site to a multipurpose space.

SOA always takes the approach of designing what’s right for the job; and we back up our recommendations by showing the calculations from our drawings, and outlining the science of what the audio requires. Science and physics aren’t subjective, so something will either work or it won’t – once we explain this to our clients, they see the value in doing the job right the first time. Woodland was no exception to this; even though our recommendation required more in the AVL budget than they had originally anticipated, they were able to look objectively at our proposal and understand the value of getting what they wanted right out of the gate.

We also provided a Panasonic 6500 lumen laser projector for their facility, so there are no lamps to replace, projecting onto a Da-Lite electric screen that drops from the ceiling. The church doesn’t do IMAG, but we did provide a SONY- HD PTZ camera for their web streaming.

For lighting, we used Global Trussing and Elation SIXPAR 300sTM and Elation Arena Zoom fixtures, with 12 LED Lekos for front lighting, all on one DMX universe controlled by an ETC SmartFade console. Everything we installed can easily be expanded in the future.

We appreciated working with Woodland – they had knowledgeable people involved on their technical staff, which makes our job easier – and helping put together a totally functional multi-purpose worship room was unique. Woodland was able to provide volunteer labor for the installation. SOA performed the rigging and critical elements, but took on a supervisory role for a large bulk of the install, which greatly reduced labor costs.

We were very pleased with what we are able to put together; we were able to help Woodland and a solution they could afford that completely meets their needs and exceeds all expectations.