Case Study – Loud, Reverberant Elementary School Gym

Dr. Howard Elementary is a Unit 4 District school in Champaign, Illinois and one of the top learning facilities in the Midwest region. They've done an incredible job of intentionally designing their building to maximize student outcomes, and Gaus Acoustics couldn't be more proud to have been a part of the development team.

When our friends at Dr. Howard came to Gaus Acoustics, they were experiencing excessive reverberation in their gymnasium despite prior treatment with Tectum Panels on the walls. Tectum is a wood fiber acoustic application bonded together with an inorganic cement. It is a fairly common sound absorbing product used in schools and auditoriums due to its low cost, high durability and ease of painting.

In addition to daily use by students, sports teams, and the like, they were also planning on hosting assemblies in the space, so proper sound control was of the utmost importance. Based on their early experience in the space, the sound environment was not up to their high standards.

To help solve their issues, the Gaus Acoustics team ran a reverb analysis on the space and found that we'd need to almost double the absorption that they currently have. Unfortunately, due to the tectum already installed, there wasn't enough wall space to cleanly accomplish this.

So we got creative! Our team recommended the addition of acoustic PET felt panels strategically placed over the existing tectum and also installed suspended from the ceiling. This particular PET Felt offered a higher sound absorption rating than the Tectum, and could offer better performance per-square foot than their previous solution.

The client approved our design, and we immediately got to work managing a seamless installation through our contractor partners. The project was completed on time and on budget, and the client could not be happier with the results. The gym's reverberation is significantly improved, and the decibel levels have returned to a normal range.

Thank you so much to the Unit 4 School District team and our friends at Dr. Howard for the opportunity! And if you're experiencing reverb issues at your school facilities, give us a call!