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Washington D.C….Founded in 1867, Howard University has long been an iconic symbol of social change in American society. The first college to declare its doors open to anyone with a desire to learn, regardless of race or gender, this progressive institution has produced influential minority alumni in all areas of society, including former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, civil rights activist Kwame Ture, and renowned author Toni Morrison.
While Howard is better known for academics than athletics, sports are still a prominent aspect of student life. In fact, the University’s homecoming football game and accompanying celebration is considered one of the Capital’s more notable annual events, with thousands of local residents joining the 11,000-plus student body to partake in the week-long gala, which features a cornucopia of musical entertainment and special celebrity guests. With another year fast approaching, Athletic Department Facility Manager Isaac Darden knew it was time to upgrade Greene Memorial Stadium’s aging outdoor sound system, and sought the advice of Beltsville, Maryland-based RCI Sound Systems, the firm behind other local high-profile jobs including Kennedy Center Concert Hall and the Washington Redskins’ FedEx Field.
“We knew the stadium needed an audio system that could withstand the Washington weather, and could provide high SPL coverage for both speech and background music,” explained RCI’s Operations Manager Kory Hankin. Hankin specified a system comprising two Community R2-52X and two R2-474X weather-resistant three-way loudspeakers covering the home team seats. The visitor section and end zone area are handled by a set of R2-52X, R2-474X and R.5-HP speakers, each mounted 80 feet high on the venue’s lighting poles using Community Professional SSYR2 Speaker Yokes in conjunction with custom-designed mounting brackets from RCI.
“The Community R-Series have a proven track record of providing excellent sound coverage and intelligibility,” Hankin observes. “And I’ve been really impressed with how well the R-Series speakers have held up in outdoor environments on several previous jobs that we’ve installed them on.”
The Greene Memorial Stadium installation presented an additional challenge to RCI installers David Riordan and Pat Flood in the open-air design of the announcer’s box; for security reasons, the amplifier and control-module rack were designed to be removable, and are only brought out for game days. “We had to weather-proof and secure all the connection points in lock boxes,” notes Hankin. “Since the announcer uses a simple setup consisting of several wireless microphone systems for himself, the referees, and an MP3 player for music playback, pre-game setup is a snap.”
Initial feedback on the system has been nothing short of overwhelming. “We’ve gotten rave reviews from staff and faculty alike,” Hankin reports. “The R-Series delivers great response and clarity for both voice and music. We’re really looking forward to football season and the fans’ reaction to the new sound system.”