Client News: Rockfon ceilings are a slam dunk for The Den at Oklahoma's Noble Public Schools
Posted on December 21st, 2020 by Heather West
Oklahoma's Noble Public School's new fine arts auditorium and gymnasium serves all 2,860 students in its district. With a playful nod to the school's bear mascot, the facility was dubbed "The Den" and opened for the 2019-20 academic year.
The old auditorium was built in 1950 and seated less than 400 people, which required the school district to outsource some of their fine arts programs to other locations. Similarly, the former high school gym was not large enough to host competitive tournaments. Investing in facility improvements across the school district, a 2017 bond allocated more than half of its total to fund The Den's $19 million design and construction.
Respecting the district's goals and budget, TAP Architecture envisioned a multi-purpose, two-story, 50,000-square-foot, single structure. It was considered an economical option compared to building separate facilities for a performing arts center and a basketball gym.
Optimizing acoustics for the wide range of activities planned within the auditorium required thoughtful design and high-performance materials. Forming the 17 clouds above the performing arts' audience seating area, Rockfon® Planostile™ lay-in aluminum ceiling panels were acoustically improved with an Acoutex™ backer. This solution provides the absorption required to make speech intelligible and to make band music clear and comfortable to hear.
Complementing the ceiling clouds' high performance, their Metalwood® Cherry woodgrain finish presents a refined aesthetic with practical durability. Sturdy, extruded aluminum Infinity™ perimeter trim is finished to match in Cherry, neatly framing the ceiling clouds.
TAP Architecture reviewed Rockfon's complete portfolio of ceiling solutions, including acoustic stone wool ceiling panels, specialty metal ceiling products and suspension systems. Rockfon's metal ceiling panels can achieve up to 0.90 Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC), and stone wool can meet specifications of 0.95 NRC and higher. This high level of sound absorption decreases reverberation and improves speech intelligibility for group communication. Using ceiling products with higher NRC ratings also can help with cost savings because fewer sound-absorbing products need to be installed to reach the goal amount of absorption in the room.
Reviewing the many variables, building materials and interior finishes, the project's design progressed through 2018. In January 2019, Rockfon shipped the selected ceiling systems to Oklahoma. Lasco Acoustics & Drywall, Inc. installed nearly 10,500 square feet of acoustic stone wool; more than 3,100 square feet of metal ceiling panels; plus 887 linear feet of metal perimeter trim.
Minimizing maintenance, Rockfon's metal and stone wool ceiling systems are simple to clean. They also resist moisture, mold and other microorganisms. All of Rockfon's stone wool panels installed in The Den are GREENGUARD® Gold certified for low-emitting products. Products earning this certification are recognized by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools and other organizations as supporting healthy indoor air quality.
Above the common areas on the upper level, an additional 23 ceiling clouds are composed with Rockfon Tropic® acoustic stone wool panels and Infinity perimeter trim finished in Silver Satin. Immediately surrounding the stage, Rockfon Artic® stone wool panels were installed within Chicago Metallic® 1200 15/16-inch suspension system. This same Artic ceiling system was used on the lower level's offices, lounge, hallways and gym locker rooms.
The Den's new gym more than doubles the capacity of the former space. Configured as a basketball court, approximately 1,500 people can be seated in the new venue. The larger gym also elevated the school's competitive athletic status by allowing it to host playoffs and other sporting events.
"This is a game changer," Noble Public Schools' district superintendent, Frank Solomon, told The Norman Transcript. "I came here in 2001 and we had a small gym inside of our high school. I couldn't tell you how many visiting teams and fans asked me, 'Why are we playing in your junior high gym?' ...This is something that will benefit our community for years to come."
Noble Public School District, The Den – Fine Arts Auditorium and Gymnasium, 4601 E. Etowah Rd, Noble, OK 73068
• Owner: Noble School District; Noble, Oklahoma; https://www.nobleps.com
• Architect and interior designer: TAP Architecture; Oklahoma City; https://www.tapokc.com
• General contractor: Manhattan Construction Group; Oklahoma City; https://www.manhattanconstructiongroup.com
• Installing contractor: Lasco Acoustics & Drywall, Inc.; Oklahoma City; http://lascoadi.com
• Distributor: Rew Materials; Oklahoma City; https://www.rewmaterials.com
• Ceiling systems - manufacturer: Rockfon; Chicago; https://www.rockfon.com
• Photographer: Simon Hurst Photography
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