Laughton Community Primary school is situated in the quiet, rural village of Laughton, East Sussex, however, their multi-purpose hall was anything but quiet. Noise levels during lunchtimes, PE lessons and assemblies were making the hall an uncomfortable place to be. Headteacher Rachel West decided that the problem needed to be dealt with and contacted acoustic specialists, Sound Reduction Systems Ltd (SRS), for advice.
After contacting SRS, the school filled in the simple SRS ‘3 Step Acoustic Estimator’ form with details such as the dimensions of the hall and the surfaces in the room and emailed it to the SRS Technical Department along with some pictures of the room itself. From this information, SRS were able to model the hall using their software to predict the current acoustic performance of the hall.
The large hall, with its striking pitched roof, provides a fantastic resource for the school, but was found to be particularly poor acoustically. The software predicted that the reverberation time in the hall was around 4 seconds – essentially, far too high to be used comfortably by the children and staff. This was simply down to the amount of harsh, acoustically reflective surfaces to be found within the room, such as the plasterboard walls and ceiling and sports flooring.
The solution was to introduce Sonata Vario absorbers suspended from the ceiling and walls of the hall to try and soak up the excess noise. The software estimated that 50sqm of Sonata Vario would be necessary to solve the problem and SRS Director Alex Docherty travelled to site to measure up and determine where best to fit the panels.
It was decided to have 30 large white panels spaced evenly across the ceiling and 10 coloured rectangular panels fitted down the length of one wall, which were all fitted by SRS’ specialist installer.
Headteacher Rachel West has subsequently commented:
"It's made an amazing difference to our hall and has created a more usable space. Previously, we avoided using our hall for activities due to the terrible echo. The panels have significantly improved the sound in the hall and therefore improved learning in this working space. We will now be able to increase the teaching of drama in this school. Teachers no longer need to strain their voice when speaking to the children in PE and assembly. The midday supervisors and cooks have also said that it is much calmer at lunchtimes, which is beneficial to everyone!"
SRS are specialists in school acoustics and offer free advice and site visits and quotes to any school with sound absorption problems. You can read project profiles and testimonials from satisfied schools on their website. If your school has a noise problem, please get in touch on 01204 380074, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.soundreduction.co.uk
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