Council considers improving acoustics at Center of Craig

Transforming a room that was built to conduct sound into one that doesn't isn't a job to be taken lightly -- or cheaply.

And, when the building under consideration has historic value, options are limited.

Using historic preservation and other grant funds, the city has remodeled The Center of Craig into a multi-purpose facility used for meetings, dances, weddings and classrooms.

Demand for space is high, but users pay a price beyond the rental fee. Sound echoes and reverberates through the chapel and isn't much better in the large meeting/performance room in the building's east wing.

Architect Terri Robertson studied the situation and presented several solutions to the Craig City Council Tuesday night.

"The concern is retrofitting the chapel in line with its historical integrity," she said. "The main problem is that a church is designed to carry sound. When it was remodeled, that's the first thing the architect should've looked at."

She recommended that the city install lightweight panels that absorb sound and can be cut to fit the design of the chapel. The 4-foot by 10-foot fiberglass panels are $169 each, and can be hung from the ceiling or attached to the walls with velcro. They would be removable.

She also recommended that the city purchase industrial-grade, bound carpet for the floor. These, she said, would absorb sound and are also removable.

City officials have discussed replacing the carpet in the east wing's meeting room with something that is less maintenance intensive -- linoleum or tile.

The high use of the room has left the 5-year-old carpet stained and worn.

Robertson recommended against removing the carpet, saying that would make the acoustical problem worse.

Instead, she suggested the city recarpet the room using tiles of carpet that are 2 foot by 2 foot and could be pulled up and replaced one square at a time should they become stained, torn or worn.

She couldn't offer a price, but said the option would be more expensive than rolled carpet.

As an alternative, she showed an environmentally friendly square of cork tile, which was her top recommendations because of it's long life, low maintenance and reputation as a sustainable product.

The council made no decisions on Robertson's recommendations.

"It would be nice to make that a usable facility, that's for sure," Mayor Dave DeRose said.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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