New Oklahoma Auditorium Features Top-Tier Acoustics

By SCN Staff

NOBLE, Okla.—Staff and students at Noble Public School in Noble are enjoying a new $19 million fine arts auditorium and gymnasium that opened for the 2019-2020 school year.

Serving approximately 2,800 students in the district, TAP Architecture designed the multi-purpose, two-story, 50,000-square-foot, single structure, which has been nicknamed “The Den” after the school’s bear mascot. Manhattan Construction Group was the general contractor.

Considered an economical option compared to building separate facilities for a performing arts center and a basketball gym, this new building replaces the old auditorium built in 1950. Because this 70-year-old venue seated less than 400 people, this required the school district to outsource some of its fine arts programs to other locations. Additionally, the former high school gym was not large enough to host competitive tournaments.

The new gym more than doubles the capacity of the former space. Configured as a basketball court, approximately 1,500 people can be seated in the new venue. The larger gym also elevated the school’s competitive athletic status by allowing it to host playoffs and other sporting events.

“This is a game changer,” said Noble Public Schools’ District Superintendent Frank Solomon. “I came here in 2001 and we had a small gym inside of our high school. I couldn’t tell you how many visiting teams and fans asked me, ‘Why are we playing in your junior high gym?’ …This is something that will benefit our community for years to come.”

Optimizing acoustics for the wide range of activities planned within the auditorium required high-performance materials. Forming the 17 clouds above the performing arts’ audience seating area, Rockfon® Planostile™ lay-in aluminum ceiling panels were acoustically improved with an Acoutex™ backer. This solution provides the absorption required to make speech intelligible and band music clear and comfortable to hear.

Complementing the ceiling clouds’ high performance, the Metalwood® Cherry woodgrain finish presents a refined aesthetic with practical durability.

TAP Architecture reviewed Rockfon’s complete portfolio of ceiling solutions, including acoustic stone wool ceiling panels, specialty metal ceiling products and suspension systems.

Lasco Acoustics & Drywall, Inc. installed nearly 10,500 square feet of acoustic stone wool; more than 3,100 square feet of metal ceiling panels; and 887 linear feet of metal perimeter trim.The metal ceiling panels can achieve up to 0.90 Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC), and stone wool can meet specifications of 0.95 NRC and higher. This high level of sound absorption decreases reverberation and improves speech intelligibility for group communication.