The oldest bilingual school in the East Bay of California, Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley instructs students in a number of languages. It also provides an environment where children, from preschool through eighth grade, are cared for, stimulated and challenged. When you cannot understand what the instructor is saying, it is difficult to teach in one language, much less five.
Since the opening of Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley in 1977, enrollment had increased from 55 students to 525. Instructions are in five languages including English, French, Spanish, Mandarin and Latin. With such an increase in students, an increase in noise occurred as well. Classrooms and activity rooms were noticeably uncomfortable when full, and understanding speech was difficult. With such a focus on foreign language, speech intelligibility within the facility was a top priority. School officials had to act.
Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley’s facility manager, Cristophe Osborn, called Acoustical Solutions for help.
This was a classic case for Anchorage Acoustic Panels. Panels will absorb noise energy, thereby reducing reverberation time and increasing speech intelligibility, but Osborn wanted something a little more creative that would draw some attention and represent the fun and interactive learning environment that the school embodies. Osborn wondered if the panels could be arranged to look like people. Aaron had never been asked this before, but he worked with the request. The result was multicolored Anchorage Acoustic Panels assembled to represent people of all backgrounds, and the school’s diverse culture.
Anchorage Acoustic Panels of various colors and sizes were constructed and assembled along the walls of the activity room in a grid pattern for places with less surface area, and for larger spaces, the panels were arranged to look like stick figures spanning the entire wall.
“The room has been a resounding success,” said Osborn, “it has now become one of our ‘poster’ rooms on our admissions tours and the parents with the hearing impaired youngster are delighted and very appreciative of all our efforts. I have been instructed to look into doing the same to the room next door.”