Osgood Park in New Britain, Connecticut, which has had only minor renovations since opening in 1960, experienced a complete makeover earlier this year. Metinteractive, which provides strategic solutions for architecture, communication, and technology, met the challenges of a short turnaround and continuing supply chain issues to furnish audio reinforcement for the public park’s new football field.
Renovating Osgood Park called for leveling the property and constructing new facilities, including a synthetic turf football field, practice area, grass soccer field, splash pad, basketball court, playground, outdoor classroom, support building and additional parking.
“It’s a whole new transformation of this area. I’m sure it’s going to be used by thousands of people, so much appreciated,” Patrick Dorsey, Chairman of the Park and Rec Commission, has said.
“The Osgood neighborhood deserves this. If there is one thing we learned during the pandemic, it’s that our open spaces and our public parks are of utmost importance to our residents and especially as we saw more people getting outside and wanting to use the facilities,” New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart has noted.
McPhee Electric Ltd., the overall electrical contractor for the project, hired Metinteractive to design the audio system for the new football field. “We have had a good relationship with Metinteractive on previous projects and knew their knowledge of audio equipment would enable us to get the best gear approved and delivered at a time when availability is still a challenge,” says Peter Manning, McPhee’s Senior Project Manager. “The client wanted to have a quality audio system, something that would be on par with lighting and the level of their new facilities.”
“Town football fields always have lights and maybe speakers on stands to cover their immediate needs, but they don’t typically have the audio capabilities of Osgood Park,” says Metinteractive Project Engineer and Project Manager Scott Tunkel.
Since the entire park was completely renovated, Metinteractive was presented with a blank canvas for the new football field. “That always makes a project easier than working within the constraints of an existing facility.” Tunkel notes. “The new field has synthetic turf, so no irrigation is required. That means it won’t compete with the new audio system: Wireless likes as little interference as possible.”
Metinteractive was given a six-month timetable for the project so the football field would be ready for a summer 2023 practice schedule. The company upgraded many of the original specifications and futureproofed the audio system for years to come as it dealt with supply chain issues and selected the best available equipment for the job.
Metinteractive chose four JBL AWC129 professional loudspeakers,mounted on light poles at either side of the field to ensure clear sound for both the visitor and home teams. “They are a high-quality, cost-effective speaker to handle game calls, music, half-time entertainment and announcements.” explains Tunkel.
“The JBLs can really put out some sound in an open-air park,” Manning notes approvingly. Crown amplifiers complement the new speakers.
To house other audio equipment in the press box on top of the bleachers, Metinteractive built a control rack in its shop, which was transported to the site and quickly installed. “The press box is very small with room for two people at a desk and would have had no space for an audio rack,” notes Manning. “The rack that was originally specified would never fit in such a confined space, so Scott worked hard to get the smallest rack possible that would fit under the desktop.”
The rack is outfitted with a QSC MP-M40 music and paging mixer/processor with a wall plate touchscreen controller, chosen for its user-friendly operation. “This was my first experience with the mixer, and I like it a lot,” says Tunkel. “Instead of volume control knobs there’s a flat plate so when you open the rack there’s less risk of settings being changed or disconnected. The design protects the system.”
The rack also houses a dual-channel Sennheiser Evolution EW-D digital wireless microphone with handheld, lavalier and body pack options. It can be used by the game announcer, national anthem performer, game caller and others.
The system features cell phone, laptop and Bluetooth connectivity to meet increasing requests to synch activities to music such as playing music picks for practice sessions.
Metinteractive also provided training for the audio system’s non-professional operators. “Training took about 15 minutes,” Tunkel recalls. “There were many sighs of relief when the operators saw how user friendly the system is.”
“Everyone was happy with the end results of the new audio system,” Tunkel reports.
“The team at Metinteractive are really professional and responsive to the needs of us as the contractor, the client and the end users,” adds Manning.