Sunningdale School
Sunningdale School

Sunningdale School is a brand new, specialist school in Sunderland for children with severe, profound, and multiple learning difficulties. Covering pupils from ages 2 through to 11 it provides learning and support for the pupils themselves as well as parents, carers, and families.

Blaydon Communications Limited were employed to provide a written specification and system design for a comprehensive public address and integrated background music system across the site for inclusion in the planning and tender stage. Due to the complexities of the systems this led to many contractors asking to subcontract the works to Blaydon Communications who are seen as a leading specialist in this sector.

To provide an easy-to-use system that fulfilled the current needs of the school and provided a level of future proofing, a hybrid solution was implemented. This comprised of a backbone of the latest IP addressable equipment seamlessly integrated with digital multizone amplifiers, analogue audio facilities, Bluetooth connectivity, and a beautiful touch screen paging console.

The multizone public address system is split into 20 zones allowing general broadcasts to be made to all general circulation areas, classrooms, and halls. Thanks to the IP addressable backbone the zoning capabilities of the system are completely configurable to allow multiple groups of zones to be easily broadcast to, as well as allowing for all call announcements across the entire site as well.

For background music there is an audio device in the reception area that will allow playback from CD, memory card, USB, and Bluetooth. This music stream can then be broadcast to the loudspeakers and controlled via the same touch screen console used for paging announcements.

In addition to this global ability for music broadcast, there are also individual inputs in 12 other areas to allow local music to be listened to in those individual areas via Bluetooth or wired connection. Areas include therapy and sensory rooms along with the main hall and dining hall, and the main hydrotherapy pool too. This flexibility will provide a superb resource for the staff to maximise the use and effectiveness of the system.

General loudspeaker coverage was achieved using over 150 loudspeakers. This included standard and music rated flush mount ceiling loudspeakers through to very high quality full range cabinet loudspeakers for areas like the main hall where events and other performances may take place.

Powering all those loudspeakers is a challenge, but the use of the latest digital power sharing amplifiers meant that we could minimise the amount of space required in the main audio rack unit and easily cater for the current loudspeaker load whilst leaving plenty of headroom for future expansion and additions.

All the main hardware is housed in a neat compact rack unit within the main server room of the school and a complete set of manuals for operation and maintenance was provided along with drawings to ease future works.

The end result is a happy school that will be able to support and enhance the lives of young children in the Sunderland area and we are very proud to have been part of the project.