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Modern Sound for U of Alabama’s Historic Foster Auditorium
Posted on Friday, April 29, 2011
Modern Sound for U of Alabama’s Historic Foster Auditorium

Tuscaloosa, AL - For many, the University of Alabama's Foster Auditorium is remembered as a "ground zero" for the civil rights movement of the early 1960s. It was on June 11, 1963 in front of these doors that then-Governor George Wallace made his infamous Stand in the Schoolhouse Door, attempting to resist integration by blocking two black students from enrolling in the University.

Built in 1939, the hall was home to UA's basketball teams in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as regularly hosting graduations, lectures, concerts and other large gatherings. The building is named for Autherine Lucy Foster, the first black student to be accepted and enrolled at UA.

With the opening of the neighboring Coliseum, the building eventually lost its standing as the campus' largest indoor structure, and in recent years had fallen into disrepair. Recently, Foster Auditorium underwent a major renovation, reopening as home to the school's Crimson Tide basketball and volleyball teams. 

John Miller, consultant for Austin-based BAi, LLC designed the auditorium's new sound system around the iBOX system from Community. The system comprises 18 iHP1596 and two iHP1564 two-way systems, arranged in single and dual clusters as a distributed system.

As the contractor, Brian Leighton of Sheffield, AL-based Sutherland Sight and Sound explains, the venue's unique acoustics made the iBOX an ideal choice.  "It's a bit of a unique venue," says Leighton. "The primary seating area is located about 10' above the playing surface, with continuous glass windows just above it, so it's a very reflective environment. The distributed design allowed us to keep the loudspeakers relatively close to the seating area and the iBOX's tight pattern control focuses the sound on the seats, and away from the glass."

"It's a bit of a unique venue," says Leighton. "The primary seating area is located about 10' above the playing surface, with continuous glass windows just above it, so it's a very reflective environment. The distributed design allowed us to keep the loudspeakers relatively close to the seating area and the iBOX's tight pattern control focuses the sound on the seats, and away from the glass."

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