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Minnesota’s Union Depot completes historic restoration with Community sound system

St.Paul's Union Depot in Minnesota has completed its historic restoration with a new sound system featuring Community ENTASYS loudspeakers.

The Union Depot in St.Paul, Minnesota has installed a new sound system with Community ENTASYS loudspeakers to accompany its recent restoration.

Originally completed in 1926, the depot became home to restaurants and offices after the last train left in 1971. Following its renovation, the depot is again being used by both light and long-distance rail (Amtrak), local and intercity bus travel. It also hosts concerts, art shows and a range of other events.

As the building architect and engineer of record, HGA Architects and Engineers worked with the Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority (RCRRA), and the project engineers and construction companies on the restoration. HGA’s Joe Wetternach, PE, says the depot’s historic interior displays the best of 1920s architecture but the large open spaces and hard surfaces produce “terrible acoustics”. Due to Union Depot’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places, no acoustic treatment was allowed in the restoration.

A distributed system design based on Community ENTASYS column line arrays was chosen and placed along the walls and aimed into the public spaces. “The way to treat a problem like this is to not create a problem in the first place,” said Wetternach. He achieved this by placing double-stacked ENTASYS loudspeakers at the “people space” height. The ENTASYS loudspeakers were custom painted by Community to blend with the depot’s interior and were supported by Community CLOUD4 ceiling loudspeakers in low-ceiling areas and I/O-5 surface-mount loudspeakers in outdoor areas. “For this project, it provided just the right balance of performance to value”, concluded Wetternach.

A Biamp Vocia system provides DSP, mixing, zoning and amplification and includes ambient noise compensation to maintain a suitable system level with varying crowd and transit noise. The Vocia also provides fault monitoring and an interface to the facility fire alarm for use in voice evacuation.