In May of 2011, a catastrophic F-5 category tornado ripped through Joplin, killing
158 people and leaving a mile-wide swath of devastation in its wake. Joplin High
School was one of many buildings destroyed, its students and faculty forced to
scatter among multiple temporary homes while the community has rebuilt.

And rebuild they have. The new Joplin High School is an architectural gem, and the
school’s 1180-seat performing arts centre is its jewel in the crown. The impressive
hall boasts a massive stage, orchestra pit, and state of the art audio and video
systems installed by AVL Systems Design in Edmond, Oklahoma.

The auditorium’s PA system is centred around Renkus-Heinz IC2 steerable line
arrays in a L-C-R configuration, with three arrays of four IC2 cabinets each and a
single hang of four IC118 subwoofers. As Marc Pierce, President of AVL explains,
the steered array technology was ideally suited to the challenge of designing a
sound system for the space. “The original design had specified a more traditional
distributed point source system,” Pierce offers. “As the design phase progressed, it
became clear that access to the speakers would be limited, and we would need a
system that would give us the ability to aim the sound where we needed it without
physically moving the speakers. The IC2 enabled us to design a system that did not
impact the architectural design, and saved the client a lot of complications.”

“The IC2 made a lot more sense in terms of the nature of the space,” adds AVL
Director of Engineering Ryan Zemke. “The ability to create multiple beams in the
RHAON II software, and to vary and aim those beams to reinforce the sound where
it needs to be while avoiding hard surfaces like the walls and balcony facing,
enabled us to provide consistent coverage to every part of the auditorium.”

The hall has been a tremendous inspiration not only for the school, but for the local
community as well. “The design of the hall allows us to do much more than we
could in our previous space,” observes Joplin HS Technical Specialist Adam Bell.
“Not only for our school and our students – it’s enabled us to open the space to the
community. We’ve had some great shows and some national touring acts come in,
and that’s all because of the new sound system.”