The Willow Creek Care Center in South Barrington, Illinois is a direct charitable extension of Willow Creek Community Church – the third largest church in the country. What started as an off-site food pantry grew over the years to include other services as well, and the church recently funded construction for a new $10 million building on its main campus.
The new building houses a grocery store, a clothing store, dental & eye care, a car repair shop, culinary training, legal & employment consultation facilities, and facilities to teach English as a second language, as well as other classes. A
Symetrix Zone Mix 761 fixed architecture processor, with twelve inputs, six outputs, powerful application-specific DSP resources, and flexible user control options, forms the heart of the new building’s music playback and paging system.
Willow Creek Audio Systems Engineer Matthew Wentz designed the new building’s sound system with consultation from A/V equipment provider TC Furlong (Lake Forest, Illinois).
“The folks in charge of the care center wanted to be able to play music from CD, iPod, or a music server and to distribute it to the lobby, the grocery store, the clothing store, the dental/eye care center, and the corridor that links the care center to the main church building,” said Wentz. “In addition, they wanted the ability to send pages to all of those locations with automatic music ducking.
“Because there are predictable times when the center is officially closed but when volunteers are still stocking shelves, they wanted to schedule volume changes that would accommodate those different uses. Finally, they wanted the ability to control the volume in each zone.”
He continued, “I chose the Symetrix Zone Mix 761 because it has all of the features that they were looking for, plus the availability of Symetrix ARC-K1e wall-mounted volume controls that would allow for an easy installation in each location using just a single CAT6 run.
“Going beyond that, Symetrix’ implementation of the free ARC-WEB interface for use on smartphones was tremendous because I could program certain parameters that they could adjust without having to go to each individual volume control. It also allowed me to create admin-only controls so that I could be in a different part of the building and still control volume, muting, and routing.”
The Zone Mix 761’s well-implemented paging features also proved to be an important part of the overall design. “The paging functionality did exactly what it was supposed to do without a lot of setup and programming,” Wentz said.
A Shure paging microphone connects to one of the Zone Mix 761’s line inputs and is programmed to send to all six zones, duck the music appropriately, and bring the music back in smoothly when the page is complete. “Importantly, the page goes out at an appropriate volume no matter what volume each zone is using for music playback,” he said.
The system has been up for six months without a glitch, and the daily users of the system love its simplicity and reliability. The Willow Creek Care Center’s website is willowcreekcarecenter.org.