CONTROLLING NOISE IN GYMNASIUMS
Gymnasiums and multipurpose rooms are some of the most used and most populated areas on a school campus. With activities such as physical education classes, sporting events, and school assemblies, noise can quickly feed on itself and build to boisterous levels.
In order to accommodate a wide range of student and community activities, gymnasiums are typically designed as large open spaces with high ceilings, wood or tiled floors, and painted concrete walls. These same traits however contribute to excessive reverberation and poor acoustics. The hard, reflective surfaces commonly found in gyms and multipurpose rooms cause the sound waves to bounce around until they eventually decay or are absorbed. By using the right balance between absorption and reflection using strategically placed acoustic wall panels and baffles, a more functional and enjoyable space is created.
In September 2013, Oeler Industries was contacted by a local interior designer for recommendations to improve the acoustics of a multipurpose room/gym at the Homestead, PA. Salvation Army. In addition to using the room for sports recreation for local kids, they also frequently held community dinners and meetings.
The concrete block walls, wood floor, and high ceilings produced a reverberation time of 4.5 seconds, producing poor speech intelligibility, making conversation nearly impossible and creating an uncomfortable environment. By installing 1” thick OELEX O-X210 High Impact Fabric Wrapped Acoustic Wall Panels, reverberation time was reduced to 1.5 seconds. These panels have a 16–20 PCF underlayment bonded to the standard 6-7 PCF fiberglass core, making them resistant to impact. This provided a space that was live enough for sports activities, yet soft enough for community events.