Outdoor school stadiums can house the most exciting events in both the life of student-athletes and the life of the community that support them. From Friday night lights, halftime shows and homecomings school stadiums are known for large crowds, excitement and memory-making moments. From football to soccer, marching band to lacrosse; these all find themselves in different seasons in the year and with different A/V needs. When designing (or redesigning) a high school or college stadium sound system there are 4 key things to consider to make sure it’s not only going to meet the wide range of current needs, but also evolve as needs change and grow.

  1. Consider what you’re up against

    Mother Nature presents a completely different playing field than indoor stadiums or gymnasiums. From rain to snow, dry to wet; outdoor audio and visual equipment can take a beating, so instead of fighting what you can’t control be ready work with the conditions. If an install, test and training on a new system are all done in the heat of the summer then know changes will need to be made when cooler fall temperatures change the loudspeaker’s aim points and frequency response. Knowing all the distance measurements from the mounting stations to the press box, and the press box to the crowd will help you determine what kind of design will make the most sense for your stadium.

  2. Consider who will use the facility and when

    Most stadiums aren’t used once or twice a year by a small group of people. Most are used by a wide-range of both school and community groups nearly year-round. Crowds can present major changes to your system. Average crowds can generate 90–105 decibels, so in order to communicate intelligible information you need to be 6–10 decibels above the crowd. Knowing your average crowds for different events and where they will be (home and visitor sections) are both important to figuring the best design for your stadium. You’ll want to lean on physics over ever-changing fads, so knowing who uses the facility and when they will be using it will help in creating a system with longevity.

  3. Consider the past

    As you consider the past make sure to note what worked really well for the stadium’s needs and where are you hoping to see improvement. The goal isn’t just “cooler speakers” but a holistic design that grows as the school grows. If the school has received complaints on volume spillage, make sure the new design measures precise coverage and fills the stadium while avoiding echoes and minimizing neighborhood spill. If there were issues in the past with the press box not being able to hear or referee mics that didn’t work at farther points on the field, make sure these considerations are accounted for in the new design. You want the sound to be great for both announcements and high-energy music, so remember to evaluate any hurdles from the previous years as you move forward.

  4. Consider the future

    As communities grow and evolve, so do the needs of the schools that they serve. When considering a new design, it’s more than getting the same system that the “school down the road” has, because there is no one-size-fits-all in stadium sound design. Also, knowing you want your investment to last as long as it can, make sure you have a good grasp on what kind of weatherproofing you’ll need. Weatherproofing is more than preventing water damage but also from dust, rust and high winds. In considering the future, it’s also good to keep in mind the technology and smart device trends being used on the campus and in classroom and if any of those needs require integrations into the design of the stadium’s technology needs.

School stadium A/V designs can be limitless with countless variabilities. Having the right design team to create the best fit helps take out the guesswork as to what will work best.

We seek to help educational institutions better engage students and the communities they serve. Our design staff, led by a Senior Systems Designer with 36 years of experience in the industry, provides complete designs for all of our own system installations as well as offering design services only for our clients.

Contact us today to start a conversation with one of our designers.