TUSCALOOSA, ALA. — WVUA(FM) 90.7 is the student-operated radio station serving The University of Alabama and the greater Tuscaloosa County, Ala., area. This summer we were faced with relocating our studios across the campus to a new facility. Our old console furniture would not fit our needs in the new space, so I began the process of evaluating options.
Since our student on-air staff are the end users of the product, I started throwing out questions about likes and dislikes regarding the old facilities during various conversations. What I learned was that many of the students found there was a lack of counter space in our old station. Even though the console furniture was L-shaped, the board operator felt cramped and claustrophobic because most of our equipment was housed in tabletop equipment pods. At the same time, students that hosted shows in pairs felt a lack of synergy because co-hosts were confined to the news booth. Being separated by a glass window hindered communication between the hosts in many cases.
On the technical side, I knew that we needed a unit that would accommodate up to half a dozen additional pieces of equipment in our new area; we’d be adding a delay system and connectivity to a multipurpose production/performance studio. I also needed to make sure I chose furniture that was rugged enough to hold up against our more rowdy students. At the same time, the furniture needed to be stylish enough to make student staffers excited about the new location.
After evaluating several options, we decided on the Arrakis Balanced U model of the Accent furniture collection. Although the unit’s colors can be customized, the standard design fit perfectly into our color scheme. Ordering the unit was quick and easy, and the time between ordering and delivery of the product was more than reasonable.
The unit came packaged together in one large wooden crate, which I did not expect. It took some time to work out the logistics of where to place the package while we unpacked, organized and assembled the furniture. Once the pieces were unboxed, it was relatively easy to get organized, since the various panels, posts and hardware were clearly labeled.
Once we studied the instructions and started assembly, we found that some of the instructions were ambiguous. Several times while assembling the first side of the U-shaped unit, we had to unbolt and reattach posts after figuring out that we had placed it in the wrong spot. It would have been useful to have a few blowout diagrams in the instructions. It would have saved us a bit of time and frustration during assembly. We also discovered some of the aluminum edges of the posts were sharp and caused some minor cuts to the engineer while running cables. Other than those hiccups, the installation went smoothly.
After assembly, we were left with a sturdy piece of furniture that looks great and holds all of our additional equipment with room to spare without using any tabletop equipment pods. The students are happy with the new space and functionality, and the studio looks great.
For information, contact Ben Palmer at Arrakis Systems in Colorado at (970) 461-0730 or visit www.arrakis-systems.com.