Community theatre has long been an important piece of local and regional culture. However, in Auburn, New York it is destined to be even more than that.
Considered part of a larger redevelopment and revitalization project, the Schwartz Family Performing Arts Center will be one of four venues in the city that will enable Auburn to become a musical theater Mecca with the potential to draw over 150,000 visitors annually, create jobs and help to revive the city’s economy.
With the participation of several foundations, philanthropists and the financial cooperation of the State of New York & Cayuga Community College, the Schwartz Family Performing Arts Center is scheduled to open in 2013. Located on State Street in downtown Auburn, New York, the performing arts center will feature theatrical productions, concerts, lectures and guest speakers. During the summer months, the center will become a cornerstone of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival and will feature local productions as well as host traveling Broadway shows.
The Schwartz Family PAC project kicked off in late 2011 and is currently still under construction. At the time of this writing its shell is being completed and the infrastructure and cabling is underway. The project was awarded to and is under the direction of JMZ Architects, a firm based out of Glens Falls, NY. In building their design team, JMZ turned to Production Technology Consultants Group (PTC Group) to ensure the successful planning and execution of the project’s theater design, audio and video needs.
Focused on providing superior acoustical and technical expertise, the PTC Group, Inc. prides itself on being able to translate the ideas of their clients into the designs that truly perform. Their consulting work starts with the specification and design process and they are instrumental to creating a strong foundation from which all of the A / V designs are engineered.
For the Schwartz Family PAC, part of this foundation included setting specific criteria for the A/V and Lighting power controls and the PTC Group immediately turned to LynTec for the equipment that would meet their project needs while allowing for future scalability, web-based interface, and energy and system monitoring.
Lee Fleishman, a 10-year veteran in theater design and one of the PTC Group designers, shared the equipment specifications for the project and the application of LynTec products within the power distribution infrastructure designs. The AV Systems design includes:
- 32 x 32 Crestron 8G Digital Matrix Switcher
- Crown power amplifiers
- JBL VerTec speaker arrays
- Aviom Digital Audio Network
- Front and rear screen video projectors
- Z-Band for TV distribution
- Clear-Com intercom system
THE PRODUCT SOLUTIONS
As part of their design, PTC Group specified LynTec circuit breaker panels to feed the AV equipment cabinets and all external AV equipment. Fleishman shared, “we specified the LynTec RPC 341 panel and the RPS 342 panel. We included a slave panel because we wanted to have more back of house circuits. In addition, a faraday shielded isolation transformer was added to make sure that lines would be clean and shielded correctly with no electronic ground noise.”
Whenever applicable for the project, PTC Group specifies LynTec circuit breaker panels. Fleishman states, “We find LynTec very convenient for giving us ongoing control over the power to the entire AV system.”
Maintaining the specifications is critical to ensuring success and the PTC Group works closely with the electrical engineers to ensure that the panels that are specified are the ones that are ultimately installed on the project. LynTec’s panels seem to be preferred by many designers because they are specifically engineered for the AV sphere and AV equipment. Fleishman comments, “Holding the EE accountable to delivering what we specified is crucial. We know and understand the value of the equipment we specify and it is part of our job to make the other trades involved understand this value, so that the specs are not compromised or value engineered into less than what was intended.”
“Theater clients often are some of our more demanding technical users and they offer a lot of input as to how we can improve our technologies to help them make their shows and the theater experience even better,” says Fleishman. He adds, “The ability of the LynTec panels to be tied into the network is key as it enables the front of house & stage manager to make changes through the user control interface.”
With regard to energy savings, most designers understand that saving energy makes financial sense for their clients and they try to start with equipment that is Energy Star rated. Then they work to include equipment that offers power off options and other energy management / monitoring features. Fleishman comments, “The theater has all kinds of strange hours so it is very useful to be able to monitor usage and to have options to circumvent and control the power when it’s needed. We’ve been using the LynTec panels for several years now. There just isn’t a product on the market that we feel works as well and you cannot beat their design support.”
This project, like most A / V projects has a long lag time from design specification to project build out. As technologies keep advancing it is challenging to stay abreast of the changes and ensure that the specs (that were written a year ago) still reflect the best solutions for the client. Since there is no way of knowing ahead of time, designers make educated guesses as to what technology the project will require a year or eighteen months out. The most successful designs incorporate elements and products that are flexible and can withstand technical change.
Given the fluid nature of the design and equipment specifications, it is easy to see why scalability for power control is even more important. Fleishman states, “With LynTec panels specified on the front end, our design team knows that we are basically prepared for anything that the client may need or want with regard to the audio, video and lighting power controls for the project.” Indeed, the ability to add more panels, provide remote control options and web based monitoring coupled with the capabilities to provide surge suppression with things like the SurgeX sidecar, put LynTec center stage for a starring role in every good AV design for power control and distribution.
This paper was developed based on an interview with Lee Fleishman, Director of Operations for Production Technology Consultants Group, an engineering and design firm located near Philadelphia, PA. Lee shares his insights on the importance of specifications for AC Power & scalability in project design.
ABOUT PTC GROUP
Located in Collegeville, just outside of Philadelphia, PA, Production Technology Consultants Group, Inc. (PTC Group, Inc.) is a group of seasoned professionals well versed in the technical art of venue planning. The Group’s engineers and designers specialize in planning and implementation in the areas of acoustics, sound systems, theatrical lighting, theatrical rigging, and video systems for a wide range of performance venues, such as performing arts centers, theme parks, churches, casinos, sports facilities, and other types of production facilities large and small.
The engineers and designers of PTC Group, Inc. give clients the confidence to develop their vision. Their toolbox is very broad and may include technical, organizational or architectural recommendations.
PTC Group, Inc. believes that consulting does not end when the design is complete. In fact, creating a design is not enough. The design must be implemented accurately in order to honor its true intention. Only then does the design truly have meaning.
The company is dedicated to getting the job done and to meeting their client’s goals. In doing this, the PTC Group creates relationships that last far beyond the completion of their projects.
For more information about the PTC Group, contact Lee Fleishman at