Executive Board

Over $60,000 approved for new Playhouse sound system

The Executive Board approved over $60,000 for the purchase of new sound equipment for the RPI Playhouse on Thursday.

The current soundboard in the RPI Playhouse is from 1996, with most maintenance undocumented and done by students. In 2011, the Playhouse began budgeting for new equipment. The system has since become inoperable and resulted in the Playhouse borrowing UPAC equipment as a short term solution. Jeremy Brinker ’20, Aliza Knight ’21, Casey Honaker ’22, and Maxwell Krantz-LeVasseur ’22 stood before the Board for approval of their three-phase sound upgrade, totaling $62,606.60 based on their collaboration with consultants.

The first and most expensive phase includes a digital sound upgrade, which would convert their analog backend to digital. The Playhouse would like to purchase a 32-channel Yamaha QL5 Digital Mixer for the front of house mixing and major productions, as well as a 16-channel Yamaha QL1 for specialized mixing in the sound booth, totaling $30,613.60. According to the Players, one of the justifications for switching to this equipment is that it is wireless and mobile, whereas the current system is tied to the physical building itself. The Playhouse would be able to integrate with UPAC equipment and share resources if necessary, since they would have similar equipment. The Playhouse would not need funding for professional installation and maintenance as their current members have acquired free certification online. After the couple of weeks it would take to order the equipment, they expect it to be installed in just a weekend.

The second phase of the upgrade includes the purchase of six or more wireless headphones, as they play an integral part in the performances of the Players. They would also like to purchase rechargeable batteries for all microphones, which would save them approximately $600 per year. The cost of this phase will be $15,525.

The last phase includes upgrades and repairs to the current communications system, which is a Clear-Com base station released in 1997. Like the soundboard, this system is tied to the building and is failing. The Players recommended Clear-Com’s Freespeak system, which is wireless and would assist in the transition to newer technology. This will cost $16,468.

Members of the Board discussed whether or not this much funding is necessary for the project, but in the end agreed it was justified. They also questioned what the Playhouse will do with the old equipment, and the plan is to leave it in place unused.

The Board approved the motion to purchase the equipment 14‒0‒1, with the first $20,000 coming from Playhouse Reserves and the remainder from the $70,000 that the Board put into Facilities Reserves at the end of Fiscal Year 2018 for this purpose.