The administrators of a new state-of-the-art, 62,000-square-foot YMCA in Urbana, Md. selected AtlasIED’s enterprise-class GLOBALCOM.IP system for its emergency communications capabilities as well as its scalability and future integration into additional locations.

Beyond the recreation center’s current communication needs, the administrators also required a system that could be easily expanded over time to connect with an older YMCA location across town and with the school district’s middle and high schools that sit directly behind the property, said Audio-Video Group sales director John Pierce.

The AV integration team selected AtlasIED’s GLOBALCOM.IP system for its installation and configuration flexibility. Audio-Video Group paired the customizable communications platform with a combination of roughly 100 AtlasIED speakers and IPX Series endpoints to ensure that guests and employees — whether on the basketball court or in the swimming pool, taking an outdoor yoga class, or running on the track — can hear and see routine and emergency notifications.

An AtlasIED dealer for 21 years, Audio-Video Group has installed numerous GLOBALCOM.IP and IPX Series products in many schools, healthcare facilities, and houses of worship throughout southern Maryland.

As plans for the new YMCA rolled out, Audio-Video Group was there every step of the way. “We had eight design meetings with the YMCA team at different stages of the project, reviewing the facility room by room, space by space,” Pierce said. This provided Audio-Video Group and the YMCA with a clear vision of how the communications system would operate, and AtlasIED had a solution that suited every square inch of the cutting-edge recreation center.

“Unlike most projects where we design a communications system for a specific space, for the YMCA we needed to design a system to serve many different types of spaces but within the same enormous facility,” Pierce said. The structure includes an aquatics center, health and wellness center, a running track, several fitness studios and gymnasiums, meeting rooms, outdoor exercise spaces, and more, each with its own unique acoustical and communications requirements.

Through the GLOBALCOM.IP GCK software, Audio-Video Group was able to customize messages, alerts, announcements, and music for each of the YMCA’s 15 audio zones; for example, broadcasting pre-scheduled, pre-recorded daily reminders only in certain zones, while playing music in other zones.

Live announcements issued from the microphone of AtlasIED GLOBALCOM.IP Digital Communications Stations are also distributed to whichever zones employees select via the station’s built-in touchscreen. This minimizes unnecessary distractions yet affords staff the flexibility to page facility-wide when necessary.

The GLOBALCOM.IP IP-100 Announcement Control System handles emergency alerts with similar smarts. Each zone is equipped with a panic button, which when pressed, triggers the GLOBALCOM.IP processor to transmit a pre-recorded notification to preset zones. “This highly customized method of communication ensures that the right people receive the alert,” Pierce said. For example, if there’s an emergency on the pool deck, the alert goes exclusively to the central office and offices of the aquatic staff. However, for campus-wide concerns like a fire, everyone throughout the entire facility is alerted. When the YMCA’s fire alarm system trips, the GLOBALCOM.IP system automatically sends an audible alert to all AtlasIED pendant, surface-mount, and analog speakers, as well as red-colored text notifications to the built-in LCDs of AtlasIED IPX endpoints.

To ensure that the messages are clearly audible, AV Group needed to carefully calibrate the audio to deal with the YMCA’s challenging acoustics, including huge expanses of glass, hard rubber flooring, and high ceilings. After analyzing the acoustical characteristics of each audio zone, Audio-Video Group set the level, EQ, and high/low filter of each amplifier to work around the acoustic obstacles.