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  • 1.  Ballroom/ Large Event Space Layouts

    Posted 11-05-2021 16:47
    Hello everyone,

    We are looking to build a large ballroom event space that could hold upwards of 1000 people and were curious to hear from others who currently have a large space like this.
    1. What are things that have worked and what hasn't worked?
         - Any built-in AV equipment, air walls, specific layouts or set ups that work best?

    Any input on this would be appreciated!

    Elias Gallegos
    Operations Supervisor
    California State University Northridge
    Northridge CA

  • 2.  RE: Ballroom/ Large Event Space Layouts

    Posted 11-07-2021 16:39
    Hi Elias,

    We have a Ballroom space that has room for about 800 people. If I was going to start over and build it from scratch, this would be my wishlist.

    Full range sound system with the ability to configure amps for different events: In our system, I'd like more subs for concerts and dances, but I don't need them for speakers and presentations.

    Better acoustics and sound proofing: A large indoor space like you are describing usually has very high ceilings, and a lot of right angles. Sound in our Ballroom bounces around this large cube forever, and the sound drastically changes depending where you are in the room. This can be mitigated by having some sort of decorative acoustic treatment hanging from the ceiling.

    Large retractable screen and projector: We have this and it is probably the biggest selling point for the space. It also keeps us from having to setup a rear projection screen on stage for every event. 

    A large stage: This also needs acoustic treatments. I used to play in my school's orchestra, and when we performed in the Ballroom, we couldn't hear ourselves because there was no shell behind us. The stage needs something to help project performances out into the audience.

    Moving light fixtures: These can be programmed to create lighting effects, stay stationary as a stage spot light, or move to highlight an area of the room not on stage. The more you have the more versatile you can be, but I wouldn't design a lighting system using only these. Mix in one for every six Par fixtures.

    Full AV booth with video switching, 32 channel audio console, stage lighting console.

    Beyond that, air walls would be nice, because a large reservable space becomes two smaller reservable space, meaning more opportunities to bring in paying clients. Any other configuration would probably sacrifice flexibility which is our Ballroom's best feature. It can hold 800 chairs one day, and the next it can hold 40 round tables and 320 guests for a banquet, then flip over to an expo space. The more you add on the floor, the less options you have. With a large open floor, your clients can get as creative in their event planning as possible.

    Parry Lopez
    Assistant Director, Kent Student Center
    Kent State University
    Kent OH

  • 3.  RE: Ballroom/ Large Event Space Layouts

    Posted 11-08-2021 09:20
    Good Day,

    If you are looking to set-up your space for large concerts/dances in particular, below are the most common issues I have found over time.
    • Make sure you have enough power, the correct disconnects for your distros, and easy access to any circuits
    • Talk with your programming folks to access the most common set-ups that will need a lot of AV. Ensure you have the proper rigging points. Ground lifting is always a pain and doesn't look as good. If you have the budget consider installing motors.
    • If you are looking at a steady flow of national acts, be sure to have a sounds board that is industry standard. If they are infrequent it is cheaper to rent. AVID SC48, AVID Profile, Midas Pro, etc. 
      • Many touring country acts and pop acts are needing more than 32 channels. most riders don't call for too many more, but it always stinks to be one or two channels short.
    • There are never enough cable ramps.

    Most of this is for large national touring acts and large dances. If you have them frequently, investing in the appropriate infrastructure is helpful. 

    Have fun with the new room!

    William Tourville
    Assistant Director - Student Activities
    Minnesota State University–Mankato
    Mankato MN

  • 4.  RE: Ballroom/ Large Event Space Layouts

    Posted 11-08-2021 09:33
      |   view attached
    Hi Elias,

          We have a 14,000 square foot ballroom that can comfortable seat 1,600 lecture or 800 banquet.  Our space is 6 years old and we were very fortunate to get to design it to include most of our wish list/requirements.  

    - We have 3 airwalls capable of dividing the space into 4 sections that seat 360 each.  
    - Other than the airwalls, the room is a large empty space with no obstructions.

    - There are four built-in screens and projectors across the "front" of the room.
    - House sound system consists of distributed ceiling speakers for full coverage of the space. 
    - House lights are also distributed and are dimmable.  
    - Stage lighting points are distributed to allow for hanging theatrical fixtures in a number of configurations.  
    - There is a main tech booth that houses all of the controls and equipment as well as a smaller tech booth/storage room in each of the other sections.  This is one of the best feature of the ballroom and allows staff to work from each booth without being in the room.  Each booth has some controls and an operable window to the room.  
    - Rigging points are distributed throughout the room to allow for flying truss.  
    - 3-phase power disconnects are in two locations to provide power for large productions or touring shows.  
    - PTZ cameras are mounted on back wall that can be used for recording/IMAG.  We typically add a camera or two as well but the PTZs get used a lot.  

    - Much of our wall space and ceiling has decorative acoustic panels that help keep the room acoustically dead.  
    - We did not include a built-in stage or "concert" sound system.  Our clients appreciate the flexibility of the space but if there was a built-in stage, I would want a PA system to go along with it.  
    - All of our built-in AV systems are Crestron and BSS.  Both have been great and we designed the system to allow us to tap into it when adding audio or lighting consoles for large events.  
    - Given all of the flexibility and complexity, we do require an AV technician to work most events and charge clients for the labor.  We could set the projector and a couple of mics and walk away but most of our clients appreciate having a student work their events and having a person always present for support.  

    I have attached our spec sheet and am happy to provide more information!

    Jason Rogien
    Assistant Director, Event Services
    Colorado State University
    Fort Collins CO


    ballroom specs.docx   14 KB 1 version

  • 5.  RE: Ballroom/ Large Event Space Layouts

    Posted 11-08-2021 09:39

    We did an addition 6 years ago and added a ballroom with a capacity of 800 plus.  

    Things I like about it:
    • It's divisible in three separate ballrooms giving much more flexibility, and using electric partions to separate them.
    • Each separate ballroom has it own audio/video system.  What's great about this is that each ballroom system can be synced together if your using two sections or all three. 
    • The audio uses wirless handheld and lapel mics as well as has corded capabilities.  
    • The AV systems uses a touch screen system allowing only staff to operate it.
    • The entire Ballroom is carpeted using carpet squares.  I was initially concerned about this but it has turned out to be a big plus.
    • We added a back of the house hallway that has worked great for storage and making setups easier.
    • Adjacent to the Ballroom is what we call the "servery".  It's a space dedicated for foodservice to use for buffets for banquets or plating for a served meal.  When a groups is done getting their food the doors can be shut and foodservice can do their thing without bothering the group.  A catering kitchen is off the servery with an elevator to main kitchen.
    • There are electric window shades for privacy but only staff can control them.
    • There are ten preset general lighting options that the customer can access on their own.
    • We added sound proofing material on the walls
    • We made sure there is plenty of power for the ability to do concerts
    Things I wish we had done differently:
    • The lighting for people speaking is very inadequate, meaning we don't spots shing down in the right locations. I would go completely change how it currently is.
    • A synced clock system so that each ballroom has a lit clock so that people speaking in a dimmed room. can see the time. It needs to be synced so that if your using more than ballroom, the correct time is the same in all.
    • At the time we couldn't afford laser projectors, but that is a must now.
    • Even though we added plenty of power, we did in only one location and wish we had looked at other spots as well.
    • Adding a camera system to be able to teams or zoom for functions if requested.
    I've come to the conclusion that no matter how planning you do, there will always be those "I wish we had done this" moments after the fact.

    Good luck.  Let me know if you would like more information. 


    Jeff Steinmiller, Director
    Overman Student Center
    Pittsburg State University
    1701 S. Broadway
    Pittsburg, KS 66762

  • 6.  RE: Ballroom/ Large Event Space Layouts

    Posted 11-08-2021 15:59
    Hi Elias,
    Not sure if you folks are in a position to consider this, but you might take a look at this info on ACUI's College Union and Student Activities consulting program. A few things to like are how customizable it is and having the ability to select and approve the consultants that fit your needs. If you need more information just let me know.

    Steve Chaplin
    Managing Editor - ACUI's The Bulletin
    Manager - College Union and Student Activities Evaluation Program (CUSA)
    Bloomington IN