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College reaps benefits of sound solutions

Being able to hear well is something many of us take for granted, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted in the classrooms of our schools, colleges and universities or any other learning environment. An enhanced acoustic environment can have an impact on a student’s performance as well as their social development - it’s essential they can hear, and be heard, clearly.

As a specialist in providing acoustic solutions for schools and colleges, Saint-Gobain Ecophon is helping to create good sound environments in a huge variety of education premises all over the country. The aim is to achieve, ‘Room Acoustic Comfort’.

As part of a redevelopment programme at the Broxbourne campus of Hertford Regional College, a brand new atrium area has been built. Architects Bond Bryan have given it a contemporary feel, which is light and airy with lots of glass, clean, hard surfaces and high ceilings. It is also a large open space which includes a reception area as well as meeting places for the students.  However, while meeting the College’s aesthetic criteria, these design elements present an acoustic challenge, due to the amount and strength of reflected sound.

Ecophon and the architect, Bond Bryan, came up with an acoustic solution that not only provided excellent sound absorption and reduced noise levels, but was also in keeping with the contemporary feel of the building.

Specialist ceiling contractor Quad Building Services (Southern Ltd) installed a variety of Ecophon products to help create an optimum acoustic environment for both students and staff. Master Solo ceiling rafts and Master Baffle were suspended from the main ceiling of the atrium. Installed together, they create a striking, modern look and were installed at a great height, making them the most suitable solution for the space. Texona Wall Panels were also used in the atrium and Focus Dg acoustic ceiling rafts were installed within one of the large meeting areas. Working together, these products have made the area somewhere which is both striking and acoustically sound.

Dominic Murphy, facilities manager at the College, said: ‘It was clear that we needed to be mindful of the acoustics to ensure that the space was as comfortable and usable as possible. The atrium is the ‘hub’ of the campus so it is important the students feel like it is somewhere they want to be and can sit, chat and relax without generating lots of noise that will disturb other areas of the College.’

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