Published in May 2006

From Simple to ‘Wow’
By Jim Stokes

Medical school consolidates campus around technology.

     The Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) College of Health Professions (CHP) complex has a new home in a vintage Charleston high school. And the college’s new $2.1 million AV install complements instruction. The goal of the university was to provide AV technology in every space used by students and faculty alike. Although our story is concerned with AV in the renovated school, new CHP construction actually consists of two buildings. Besides repurposing the existing high school, the university constructed a new building next door from the ground up. The new building houses the labs and some .5a and .5b rooms. [See accompanying “Room Breakdown” sidebar for specific room allocations.]

Consolidated Campus
     When MUSC decided to consolidate its sprawling CHP consisting of seven buildings on and off campus, eyes fell upon the abandoned High School of Charleston, which was built in the early 1900s. Ironically, the historic, crumbling building was owned by the university but never used; MUSC itself is the oldest medical school in the South and one of the oldest in the nation.
     The College of Health Professions is part of a six-college, public academic center, the Medical University of South Carolina. The university provides an environment for learning and discovery through educating healthcare professionals and biomedical scientists, research in the health sciences and provision of comprehensive healthcare. Represented by 11 allied health degree programs from BA to Doctorate levels, CHP has grown into one of the top allied health schools in the country. Among those 11 programs are such offerings as a BHS/Bachelor in Health Sciences, two Masters in Health Administration and a DPT/Doctorate in Physical Therapy.

     Southern Business Communications Group implemented the technology requirements of the new MUSC-CHP complex in downtown Charleston. Our SBCG interviewees include project manager Ron Lyman and other SBCG management personnel.
     Lyman hastened to add, “It wasn’t just one SBCG location that did this job. We actually pulled resources from our other company divisions to complete the project. It’s a very big group effort.” SBCG’s Glen Alonso was the install manager. The consultant was systems design engineer Ken Mar- tinsen, IdeaReserve, LLC, Edgewater MD. On the MUSC side, we spoke with assistant dean of students David M. Ward.
     According to MUSC’s Ward, “The integration of AV into the classrooms has really enabled our faculty to become much more creative with how to interact with students. And in the standard classroom, they’re doing things they never dreamed of. We combine the AV equipment with laptops for our students, so they can take advantage of this technology we’ve installed. What we find is that faculty in all the 11 different academic degree-granting programs in the college are finding new and exciting ways of doing things, including using SMART Boards and integrating some of our sound systems. The speech communication disorders program is making significant use of our audio equipment.”

Project Overview

     According to SBCG management, AV system requirements for the MUSC project were broken down into levels of technology, from simple 0.5b level classrooms, which consist of 50-inch plasma displays and simple Crestron control, to a complex Level 3 “wow” room, which has a multi-projector display. Read on and you’ll find out what else is in the “wow” room. Then there’s a master control room that can tie any room in the building to another or record any classroom in a variety of formats.
     In the first phase of implementation, SBCG was tasked to engineer, build and install the first 14 Level 2.0 and 2.0a classrooms as well as laboratory room systems by the August 23, 2005, deadline, which was the first day of class in the new facility. Specifically, the Level 2.0, 2.0a and lab rooms can accommodate between 35 and 115 students, depending on the room configuration. Each classroom is equipped with at least two Epson 5200 lumen, 1024x768 LCD projectors projecting onto a 65"x116" HD-format electric screen and a 72-inch SMART Interactive display whiteboard, which can serve as a screen. “The consultant spec’d the Epsons,” said Lyman, “because of the very high-end imaging needed.” Although they typically use standard lenses, depending on the room, short- and long-throw lenses are available. “So the factors were the ability to do different lensing and the brightness of the projectors.”
     The larger rooms have three projectors and screens. The instructor has the ability to display a computer, document camera, laptop or video source plugged into the available table box mounted in the instructor’s station. The instructor can display the same image on all screens or any image on any screen. This offers the flexibility to teach in many different ways and styles. MUSC’s Ward explained that “some classrooms, because of their size, may have one [conventional] screen and two SMART Boards. Another room would have two screens for not only a projection display but also for faculty use in general.”

This Seminar Room, one of six Level 0.5a rooms, features video feed, projection and digital storage of sessions, all controlled from a touchpanel.

AV System Control
     A Crestron 12-inch color touchpanel mounted in the instructor’s podium provides AV system control. The touchpanel is programmed to assist a novice instructor by asking a series of questions about how they would like to set up the room and the AV system. By answering the questions and hitting the submit button, the system will be configured automatically. The touchpanel can also preview the computer, laptop or video source before they are displayed on the projection systems. In addition, the classrooms and labs have ceiling-mounted pan/tilt/zoom cameras and ceiling-mount- ed microphones, used for recording or transmission of classes if requested by the instructor.

There are 35 fully loaded classrooms that seat 115 students.

Helped Tremendously
     Lyman noted that the Silicon Optix Image Anyplace control box “helped us tremendously” with projector alignment. “It became a very good option for some of the HVAC and ceiling-height issues. Image Anyplace is a scaler with geometry correction. Every projector in the installation has a Silicon Optix piece attached to it.” He added that this allows the user to offset the projectors and still be able to set them up on a screen. “It takes care of keystone skew, so you don’t have to be dead-centered on the screen.”
     By nature, the teaching labs involve practical scenarios. According the Lyman, getting AV equipment in the right place for instruction was challenging. “We ended up hanging some Clarity Visual Bengal 61-inch (DLP) monitors on poles, although the monitors weren’t originally meant to be pole-mounted units.” As a result, they had to fabricate some gear to make that happen. For instance, he offered, “Some of the monitors had to be mounted in front of windows where a normal wall mount wouldn’t work. It took us a couple of days where we engineered our way through it and got them up [to where the college wanted them.]” Chief pole pitch adjustable mounts were used.
    "We did something different in our labs,” said Ward. They increased the number of in-lab cameras so instructors can now control a minimum of three cameras in the lab. “And we have a minimum of three different display devices throughout the lab,” he added. “They can direct almost any gear within the lab to any of the three displays. So, students are no longer huddling around when an instructor wants to demonstrate at a particular lab table to the rest of the class. He can just punch up a couple of buttons and pick it up via the cameras and distribute it throughout the entire lab. It has really helped things tremendously.”

Camera Capabilities
     Lyman further explained that, not only do the labs allow for showing PowerPoint presentations or slides, but they also allow the class to be sitting in one portion of the room while an instructor and a student are at a camera location showing, for example, in an occupational therapy lab, rehabilitating a hand. The camera could zoom in on the demonstration and put the scene on the SMART Board screen, showing the class how to manipulate the muscles and bones. [As an aside, this writer can attest to a completely effective OT rehab of his hand, thus averting carpal tunnel syndrome.]
    "That’s what the larger monitors are for,” said Lyman. “You could send lab table three to the SMART Board screen and monitor two, while you have a computer presentation showing on the other monitor. As you’re showing a slide of what you’re doing on table three, the student can look at it and correct himself, then do what the graph shows: Adjust the finger by adjusting to the left to knock the bone back in place.” Meanwhile, he stated, the rest of the students are looking at the camera, which actually shows the student doing the work. “Everything is matrixed to the monitors, so the instructor can select what he wants on any of the monitors or projectors in the room.”
     Highlighting the remaining AV equipment in an OT lab, it includes Silicon Optix for projector alignment, Extron’s switching/converting/microphone-line mixing, JBL sound-reinforcement speakers and Crown ceiling microphones.

The ‘Wow’ Room
     The lone Level 3 room has been playfully nicknamed the “wow” room because it contains a lot of advanced AV technology. Used for higher end classes, this multipurpose room seats 60 to 80. The most obvious and challenging aspect of the space is the Stewart Filmscreen 100 21'x6' rear-projection screen. “It was kind of a challenge mounting it in the room because some change orders came through right before we were going to do the installation,” explained Lyman. “We didn’t have enough room to put the projectors where we wanted to, so we had to maneuver some things around and get with Draper [for the mirror assembly].” They needed the large Stewart screen because it’s an extremely long room, measuring about 20 to 30 feet wide and 60 feet long, he offered. The screen is set up to project three 4:3 images. “Thanks to the Vista Systems Spyder 353 video processing and windowing system, the three screen images can be edge-wound together to make one large, seamless image for the classroom,” offered Lyman, adding that there can be multiple format displays, such as a VCR playing back from the head end along with two room computer data and images.

Set Up for Conferencing
     The room is set up for audio- and videoconferencing as well, with three Panasonic cameras and 12 Crown ceiling-mounted microphones. The sound reinforcement/audio conferencing chain includes JBL ceiling speakers, Crown amplifiers and Biamp Audia- Flex processing. Complementing the advanced imaging, program sound is run through a Crestron digital audio processor and surround-sound amplifier feeding TOA speakers and a JBL subwoofer. Rounding out the Level 3 classroom are a SMART Sympodium and Shure wireless.
     The class can be transmitted to any or all other classrooms through the head end/master control room system The massive amounts of information from the classrooms, labs and conference rooms have to be managed within the CHP complex. The master control system, located on the third floor of the high school building, is that nerve center. The head end control room houses six 80-inch Middle Atlantic equipment racks. Equipment consists of a 64x64 video and audio matrix switcher, 45 Cat5e receivers and 25 Cat5e transmitters, a broadcast-quality video switcher, 2 DVCAM recorders, 4 S-VHS decks, 2 digital video player/recorders and MPEG2/4 encoders and decoders, plus numerous monitors and distribution equipment.
     The purpose of the system is to receive voice, data, video and imaging from within the complex, as well as external information. The control room allows the free flow of information to educators in and out of the CHP complex. Those signals are transmitted to the control room over Cat5e cable, where it is received and fed into the 64x64 audio/video matrix switcher. The switcher allows the signals to be sent to recording, broadcast or streaming devices located in the system. Signals can be recorded digitally or on tape, encoded and stored on a server for archiving or viewing at a later time. The control-room operator accesses the equipment in the classrooms using Crestron’s e-Control software, which allows the operator to control camera in the classrooms and labs.

The Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Health Professions complex is housed in a vintage
Charleston high school.

The Master Control Room centrally manages all voice, data, video and imaging from every room in the two-building complex, providing video on demand of classes, labs and meetings.

Distance Learning
     Lyman pointed out that the head end’s VBrick system is most useful in distance learning, allowing a lecture to be stored onto VBrick. “So if a student missed a day in class, he could bring it up on a website. And if a classroom space is full-up, master control could transmit the class to however many classrooms to take care of the overflow.”
     Here’s one more overall facet before we report on a specific room: “Running cable back and forth between the buildings was a project in itself,” said Lyman. “There was a lot of cable on this project and a lot of man-hours pulling cable.”
     Lyman pointed out that the high school’s atrium was a challenge in hanging the screen and working in that environment because the site is a historic landmark. The university ended up gutting the school and preserving the old main entrance. The remaining atrium is very Roman- esque, with 30-foot-tall columns in the middle of the structure.
    "Our main objective was to put a screen in there, so they could use that area as a kind of reception hall for the college itself,” said Lyman. “We ended up with a very large screen 30 feet in the air and mounted it behind the historic pillars without damaging the original brickwork or stonework.” The 116-inch-wide Da-Lite front-projected screen was a “big lift to get to the top of the scaffolding that was already in place during the construction phase. It took a lot of manpower,” he added.
     Highlighting the rest of the atrium system, equipment includes two Shure wireless, IRP 8x2 automatic mic mixer, Crown amplifiers for JBL sound reinforcement and program speakers, Epson video projector, Sony wall/ceiling mounted camera, Cres- tron Ethernet control, and Extron interfaces and switchers.
     The university’s David Ward sum- med up the entire AV install nicely: “It’s fascinating to see the integration of high tech in an old building!”


Room Breakdown

   At press time, Southern Business Communications Group has installed or is currently installing or tweaking the following areas.

9 Level 2.0 classrooms
2 Level 2.0a classrooms
5 Labs
6 Level 0.5a classrooms
9 Level 0.5b classrooms
1 Level 3 “Wow” room
1 Simulation Operating room (at press time, AV work in progress)
1 Master Control System
1 Atrium sound and projection system
1 Dean’s conference room
1 Instructors training lab



Level 2.0/2.0a, Instructors Classrooms
(12 rooms/equipment per room)
1 Crestron PRO2 professional dual bus control system
1 Crestron TPS-5000 touchpanel
1 Crestron QM-AMP3X80 amp
2 Crown PZM-11 mics
1-2 Da-Lite Advantage Deluxe screens
2-3 Epson Powerlite 8300i projectors
1 Extron CrossPoint matrix switcher
3 Extron MTP Series Cat5 transmitters, receivers
1 Extron VSC 500 scan converter
1 Extron MVC 121 mic line mixer
12 JBL Control 26 speakers
1 Middle Atlantic ERK-2725 rack
1 Samsung UF-80D Digital Presenter document camera
2 Sennheiser assisted-listening gear
2 Shure ULXP 14/85 wireless mics
1 Silicon Optix Image AnyPlace high-performance video scaler
1-2 SMART 580 SMART Boards
1 SMART Sympodium interactive pen display
1 Sony EVI-D70 camera

Level 0.5a Rooms
(6 rooms/equipment varies in each of these small conference rooms, lounges, cafés)
1 Crestron QM-AMP3X80 power amp
1 Crestron TPS-3100LB touchpanel
1 Crestron MP2E integrated AV control system w/Ethernet
2 Crown PZM-11 mics
1 Epson PowerLite 8300i projector
3 Extron MTP Series Cat5 transmitters, receivers
1 Middle Atlantic rack
1 Silicon Optix Image AnyPlace high-performance video scaler
1 SMART 580 SMART Board
1 Sony EVI-D70 camera
2 TOA H-1 speakers

Level 0.5b Rooms (9 rooms)
1 Crestron QM-RMCRX quick media receiver
1 Crestron QM-WMC wall-plate media center
1 Crestron CNX-B8B 8-button wall controller
1 NEC PlasmaSync 50XM4 50" plasma w/speakers

Labs (5 rooms/equipment varies in each room)
1-3 Chief TPM-2043 tilting pole mounts
1-3 Clarity Visual Bengal DLP monitors
1 Crestron QM-AMP3X80 amp
1 Crestron TPS-4000L touchpanel
1 Crestron PRO2 pro dual bus control system
2 Crown PZM-11 mics
1 Epson PowerLite 8300i projector
3 Extron MTP Series Cat5 transmitters, receivers
1 Extron VSC 500 scan converter
1 Extron MVC 121 mic line mixer
1 Extron CrossPoint matrix switcher
8 JBL Control 26 speakers
1 Middle Atlantic rack
2 Shure ULXP 14/85 wireless mics
1 Silicon Optix Image AnyPlace high-performance video scaler
1 SMART 580 SMART Board
4-5 Sony EVI-D70 cameras

Level 3 “Wow” Room
2 Biamp Audia mic mixers
1 Crestron PRO2 pro dual bus control system
3 Crestron cami pan tilt devices
1 Crestron TPS5000 touchpanel
1 Crestron DAP-8 digital audio processor
1 Crestron 7x200 amp
12 Crown CM30W ceiling mics
2 Crown CTs 4200 amps
2 Crown PZM-11 mics
3 Draper mirror assemblies
3 Epson PowerLite 8300i projectors
6 Extron MTP Series Cat5 transmitters, receivers
1 Extron VSC 500 scan converter
1 Extron MVC 121 mic line mixer
1 Extron CrossPoint matrix switcher
18 JBL Control 26 speakers
2 Middle Atlantic racks
3 Panasonic AW-E300 cameras
1 Samsung UF-80D document camera
2 Sennheiser assisted-listening gear
2 Shure ULXP 14/85 wireless mics
1 SMART Sympodium interactive pen display
1 Stewart Filmscreen 100 21'x6' screen
5 TOA H-3 surround speakers
1 Vista Systems Spyder edge blending processor

Master Control
6 ADC 48x48 bantam audio patch bays
1 Crestron PRO2 pro dual bus control system
1 Crestron TPS-6000 touchpanel
70+ Extron MTP Series Cat5 transmitters, receivers
1 Extron 64x64 composite video, audio router
1 Mackie 1604-VLZ Pro mixer
2 Mackie HR824 studio monitors
2 Marshall Electronics V-R44P LCD color monitors
6 Middle Atlantic MRK-4426 equipment racks
4 Panasonic AG-2580 VCRs
1 Polycom VSX 8000 videoconferencing codec
4 Prime Image tbc/frame synchronizers
1 Sony DFS-700A video effects switcher
2 Sony DSR-2000 DV decks
2 Sony DMR-T2020 DVD recorders
2 Sony PVM-20L5 production monitors
1 Sony PVM-14L5 14" engineering monitor
2 Sony PVM-97 B&W monitors
2 VBrick 4200 encoders
1 VBrick 4000 encoder
1 VBrick EtherneTV Media Control Server
1 VBrick EtherneTV Video On Demand Server
1 Videotek VSG-201 sync generator
1 Videotek VTM-180 waveform/vector scope
6 Videotek analog DAs
2 Videotek ominiframes

Atrium (system located in Master Control)
2 Canon XL-2 DV Cam portable cameras
1 Crestron CP2E processor
1 Crown CH2 amp
1 Da-Lite Cinema Vision 116" screen
1 Epson PowerLite 8300i projectors
1 Extron CrossPoint matrix switcher
2 Extron wall plates w/RGB extenders, video, audio jacks
8 JBL Control 26 speakers
2 Shure ULXP 14/85 wireless mics
1 Sony D-70 camera

Dean’s Conference Room
1 Biamp Audiaflex
8 Crown CM30W ceiling mics
1 Crestron QM-AMP3X80 amp
1 Crestron CP2E processor
1 Epson PowerLite 8300i projector
4 Extron MTP Series Cat5 transmitters, receivers
6 JBL Control 26 speakers
1 Middle Atlantic ERK-2725 rack
1 Samsung UF-80D document camera
1 Silicon Optix Image AnyPlace high-performance video scaler
1 SMART 580 SMART Board
2 Sony EVI-D70 cameras
2 Sony D-70 cameras
2 TOA H-1 speakers

List is edited from information supplied by SBCG.


Southern Business Communications Group
     Southern Business Communications Group (SBCG) of Norcross GA has been providing AV services since its founding in 1981. As a subsidiary of Global Imaging Systems family of companies, the company has acquired and built upon the strengths of “best of breed” companies in the Information Technology industry. SBCG is uniquely qualified to provide its clients with a large selection of the highest quality products and exceptional service for all its business needs. SBCG prides itself on a hands-on approach and the willingness to continue to earn clients’ business at every opportunity.
     The complement of Southern Business Communications Group solutions include presentation products, video teleconferencing, information technology, industry-specific solutions including medical, legal and educational, ongoing service and support, and leasing. In addition to SBCG’s Norcross headquarters location, it has 12 other offices throughout Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington DC.


Jim Stokes is a trained army medic and spent around ten years in medical-related AV work as a civilian.

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