Case Study: San Lorenzo Unified School District

ASG Designs $6 Million Production Facility for San Lorenzo Unified School District

The new $6 million BADA Digital Arts Facility at San Lorenzo High School was designed for professional productions, complete with studio, control room, production offices, and more.

The new $6 million BADA Digital Arts Facility at San Lorenzo High School was designed for professional productions, complete with studio, control room, production offices, and more.

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When Lance McVay, director of the Bay Area Digital Arts (BADA) Academy for California’s San Lorenzo Unified School District, had the opportunity to build a new production facility, “good enough” just wasn’t going to cut it. Since the mid-1990s, he had been teaching television production classes in a converted auto shop at San Lorenzo High School. Even after the BADA program moved to the school in 2003, there was no budget to build a control room, so “live-to-tape” productions had to be constructed in an edit suite.

“It’s not a studio built for a high school, it’s a studio built for professional production that students run.”

The new BADA Digital Arts Facility at San Lorenzo High School features an editing lab with 36 Mac stations with Final Cut Pro, plus four individual edit suites.

Designed by Advanced Systems Group, the new $6 million 11,000-square-foot production and post-production space at the high school includes a 3,000-square-foot NC25 sound stage, production control room, audio control room, voiceover/ADR recording studio, editing classroom, private edit suites, production offices and shared storage on a high speed network. “My vision was to do it right,” McVay said. “It’s not a studio built for a high school, it’s a studio built for professional production that students run.”

The BADA program provides media production training, access to professional work sites and potential internships for its students. The new facility was funded through a state Career Technical Education Facilities grant – for which ASG provided the technical, acoustical and equipment specifications – and matching funds from a 2008 bond measure.

ASG was involved in the project from the beginning. “They assisted with the original grant application to the state and have been involved ever since,” McVay explained. “Their work and assistance have been vital to the success of the project.”

“It’s not a studio built for a high school, it’s a studio built for professional production that students run.”

“It’s not a studio built for a high school, it’s a studio built for professional production that students run.”

After BADA was awarded the grant, ASG was awarded the contract to design the facility with San Francisco-based RLS as part of its team. Thresher Communication & Productivity of Sunnyvale, Calif., handled equipment installation and integration.

The new studio includes three Panasonic AJ-HPX3100 studio cameras connected over SMPTE fiber with Autoscript prompters, an 18-foot lighting grid, cyc wall, curtain track with green screen, video production control, audio production control, machine room, ADR/VO booth and talent green room. Its loading bay features doors that are wide enough to bring vehicles into the studio for commercial shoots. The new facility’s control room is built around a Snell Kahuna Flare 2 M/E production switcher, Miranda routing and Compix two-channel CG, with audio control based around a Yamaha DM2000 digital audio console with Genelec 5.1 monitoring.

“The goal for BADA is for the space to be used to produce professional media projects, which will provide invaluable experience to students looking to pursue a career in the digital arts or entertainment fields.”

“The goal for BADA is for the space to be used to produce professional media projects, which will provide invaluable experience to students looking to pursue a career in the digital arts or entertainment fields.”

There are four individual edit suites, plus an editing lab with 36 NLE stations with Adobe CS6 and Final Cut Pro connected to Harmonic Media Grid shared storage. The facility also includes a conference room, teacher office, prop and wardrobe storage, equipment room, and production offices for students to emulate a working studio environment.

“In the 35 years I have been helping build facilities at K-12 schools, this is the most sophisticated and realistic environment we have ever been able to provide for students,” said Dave Van Hoy, president, ASG. “The goal for BADA is for the space to be used to produce professional media projects, which will provide invaluable experience to students looking to pursue a career in the digital arts or entertainment fields.”

Construction began on the facility in late 2012, and the building had its official ribbon-cutting ceremony in February 2014. McVay said the program will move to the new facility before the end of the school year, and the studio will be available for rental by regional businesses. With the center complete, ASG is now working in the local production community to help attract guest speakers and internship opportunities for BADA students.

“From the beginning, I knew ASG was totally looking out for the integrity of the project. They made my concerns paramount at every step of the process,” McVay added. “They worked hard to be sure the facility met the needs of my students and curriculum, while paying close attention to maintaining a high industry standard so the students could learn in a professional environment.”

A 3,000-square-foot NC25 sound stage.

A 3,000-square-foot NC25 sound stage.