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A very modern solution for Belgium’s oldest university

Paddy Baker 24 May 2010
A very modern solution for Belgium's oldest university

An institution of the University of Leuven has been equipped with Ampetronic induction loops to benefit its hard-of-hearing students. Dating back to 1425, the university was divided into separate institutions in 1968 – the Dutch-speaking Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and its French-speaking counterpart, the Université Catholique de Louvain – and it is in the former that Ampetronic induction loops were recently installed in two teaching spaces.

The facilities in question – the Pieter de Somer and Gasthuisberg (pictured) auditoria – are respectively the oldest and newest lecture theatres at the university.

"The university has students who are hard of hearing, but its administration also realises that legislation will require induction loops to be installed far more widely," said Danny Bakkers of Hasselt-based PVS, which installed both systems. "It made sense to install an induction loop in the brand new space and also one in Pieter de Somer while it was being upgraded."

Both systems were designed by Ampetronic, the shape of the lecture theatres playing a key role in the layout of the phased arrays: Gasthuisberg being the conventional fan shape, whereas Pieter de Somer is effectively circular in plan.

The unusually constructed Gasthuisberg provided the biggest technical challenge, however. Necessitating the specification of six Ampetronic ILD1000G loop amplifiers plus SP5 phase shift/metal loss corrector, the loop system comprised two arrays of narrow loops, with each array having to be split into 12 sections side-to-side to avoid the floor support beams. In effect, this meant that the two loops each comprised 60 small squares, resulting in a complex installation of the loop cable. By contrast, Pieter de Somer needed just two ILD1000Gs and an SP5, the twin loops sweeping from side to side of the auditorium in a straightforward manner.

Responding to the positive reception of the new systems, the university is set to fit induction loops as standard in all its auditoria. A rolling programme of refurbishment will see it undertake work on around five of its 210 lecture theatres each year.

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