Diversified Helps First Baptist Orlando Redesign for Modern Worship
First Baptist Orlando in Orlando, Fla., recently completed a $14 million renovation, which involved a major overhaul of the live and broadcast production systems in its 4,350-seat worship center. Idibri, based in Addison, Texas, headed up the design of the audio, video, and lighting systems, as well as providing theatrical consulting and acoustic design.
One of the church’s goals for its worship center was to bring a sense of intimacy to an admittedly large space. This involved revisiting the seating layout: seats that didn’t have good sightlines were removed, and pews were replaced by theatre seats. On the main floor, the back row is now 20 feet closer to the platform. (The previous under-balcony seating area is now part of the church’s expanded lobby.) While in days of yore the worship center’s ceiling was a prominent architectural presence, it is now painted black, making it seem to disappear.
Diversified, headquartered in Kenilworth, N.J., headed up the integration of the LED wall, as well as the upgrade of First Baptist Orlando’s broadcast and video production facilities, which involved the replacement of the church’s standard definition equipment with HD systems. Tom Larrison, account executive at Diversified, notes that as part of this, the facility’s standard copper wire infrastructure was upgraded to fiber. “First of all, in Orlando, lightning storms [present] a constant possibility of getting in on a copper system, and fiber circumvents that,” he explains. “The other thing is that fiber helps them future-proof: if and when 4K, 8K––whatever it ends up being––finally becomes mature and adopted into churches, they have an infrastructure that will give them the bandwidth to be able to move forward with really any format that they want to.”
While First Baptist Orlando had been in discussions with the designers and integrators for quite some time before the renovation began, the actual project spanned six months––an ambitious timeline for an overhaul of this magnitude. David Roche, project manager at Diversified, points out that what helped all team members to meet this deadline was that First Baptist Orlando brought them into the project early. “Starting early with your AVL contractors, and the different [trades] is very important, especially when you’ve got a compressed timeline because you’ve got to work together, you’re working on top of each other, and you’re sharing space,” he says. “My advice to churches would be: get all of those people together as early as you can, get them in the same room together, get everybody talking, introduce everybody. You’ve got to build those relationships, and the earlier you do that, the smoother it goes down the road.”