high school thrilled with projection system
United helps the Latin School of Chicago build multimedia center
not what you see, but what you don't see that makes the library at
The Latin School of Chicago so interesting. Hidden in the ceiling
above the central portion of the room is a Sharp LCD projector that
can transform this study area into an impressive multimedia center.
With the flip of a switch, a wall screen begins to lower as the projector,
mounted on a lift, drops from the ceiling. The lights dim, the sound
system comes on, and with very little effort, the center of the library
has become the perfect spot for a class presentation, a teachers'
meeting or a gathering of parents.
not unusual for a school to move its projection equipment from classroom
to classroom. That's what Latin School librarians were doing up until
two years ago, when they decided it was time to modernize a bit. "We had
been bringing the projector in on a cart and relying on a screen mounted
on a tripod with one rubber foot missing," says Barbara Etchingham, one
of three Upper School librarians. "We decided we should definitely look
better than this, so we sought out Dave Woods from United Visual." A wall
of windows facing east makes this room very light and bright, especially
in the morning. And, since students typically use the library even when
a class is going on in its center section, librarians wanted to keep it
bright. Woods was able to provide a Sharp model with enough light output
to look good even under these conditions.
Something of value
knew we wanted something permanent," says Chris Doyle, assistant director
of facilities. "But we also wanted to maintain the aesthetics of the
library." So the school took out a row of bookshelves and had a matching
maple cabinet built for the a/v equipment rack, where a VCR, sound system
and interfaces are housed. United Visual technicians mounted 16 speakers
in the ceiling, which carry program audio to the audience without overpowering
the library study areas. Presenters can use a simple remote control
to switch between computer, VCR and television sources. Now teachers
bring their classes in to show PowerPoint presentations, students use
the projector to show projects done on video, and the board of trustees
holds its meetings in the library. There's no more struggling with carts,
toppling tripods or loose cables.
The Latin School volunteered
to host an independent schools conference last November, bringing
in presenters from independent schools in 15 midwestern states. The
library's new projector package was a big hit. "The speakers who used
the library were so impressed," says Etchingham. "The whole point
of a/v is to make small things big and soft things loud. One group
from Ohio was worried about what they'd have to work with when they
got here, but once they saw our new system, they were thrilled!"