Community Bible Church in San Antonio, Texas is the seventh largest church in the United States, with over 25,000 members attending services campus wide each weekend.
The main auditorium seats 3,500 and the central auditorium seats 1,750, both of which received full audio, video, lighting, lobby and broadcast renovations totaling over $5 million from January 2014 to June 2015.
The upgrade process started in Fall 2013 by doing a comprehensive technology review campus wide. From this review, we were able to gather data points on which equipment was at a critical point of failure and which would be a candidate for either a short-term or long-term upgrade. Our 18-month plan for the total project gave the church the ability to budget their financial resources accordingly over this time period.
Designing with the Future in Mind
Given that the technology life cycle for each venue is 10–12 years, our design team focused on the need to future-proof the audio, video and lighting infrastructure and equipment as much as possible while keeping the systems consistent throughout the campus. The challenge was to incorporate industry-accepted state-of-the-art digital protocols in a clean, consistent methodology, while not getting so far ahead of the curve that the design wouldn't be cost-effective or inefficient to implement.
Transforming Spaces into Immersive Environments
The intent was to create a design that lent itself towards participation and engagement for the audience. We wanted it to be easy for everyone to hear the music and the person speaking on stage, but they also needed to hear their neighbors worshiping around them in order to create that sense of community that is pivotal to what the church is about. Working from the strategic plan and overall design plans, in 2013 we implemented a half-million-dollar upgrade to the mission critical audio and lighting consoles in the 3,500-seat main auditorium, as they were quickly failing. Then, in 2014 we renovated the central auditorium and gymnatorium, transforming both spaces into a single 1,750-seat space featuring HD video, expansive theatrical lighting and line array-driven audio, each supported by an all-digital workflow.
With expectations exceeded by the work in the central auditorium, we were then asked to perform the technology renovations to the main auditorium. We installed a 4K video system, comprehensive theatrical lighting system, digital matrix intercom system and tour grade line array audio system, all utilizing an all-digital infrastructure.
House of Worship