Brighton, UK – 18 December 2019 – The Chailey Heritage Foundation D.R.E.A.M. Centre sets a new standard in the creative use of cutting-edge audiovisual technology to make a range of experiences accessible for children and young people for whom it is very difficult to travel. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall opened the centre on 17 October.
Chailey Heritage Foundation provides schooling and residential care for children and young adults with complex physical disabilities, high health needs, sensory impairments, and associated learning difficulties. The new sports and activity centre allows young people in wheelchairs to play indoor sports, take part in drama and musical performances, develop their balance through rebound therapy, learn to drive a powered wheelchair, and broaden their horizons through a groundbreaking immersive experience zone.
“We are honoured to have played a role in creating this amazing facility for such a deserving and wonderful group of young people,” said David Marks, CEO of TEECOM, which provided technology strategy, design and engineering, and project management.
Replacing a 1950s-era assembly hall, the D.R.E.A.M. (dynamic, real, experiential, amazing, magical) Centre was made possible by a £3.1m fundraising initiative and significant contributions of time from the local building industry. Key contributors included Matt Barton, CEO of 7thSense and 2nd Chailey Scoutmaster; Blair Parkin, Magnus Kemp, and Barrie Paveley at TEECOM; Paolo Marenghi, Account Manager at Epson (UK) Ltd.; Deacon Richardson Architects; and North Star Engineers Ltd.
“The building has different modes,” explains Parkin, Principal and Executive Vice President at TEECOM. “One end can have sports going on while the other can be enclosed with projection, immersive therapy, or rebound therapy. The hall can also be used as a giant cinema. Taking a child in a wheelchair with a life support system attached to the cinema is difficult, sometimes impossible, so we’re bringing the cinema to them.”
For children and young people unable to travel internationally, the D.R.E.A.M. Centre’s 4D immersive experience zone will simulate journeys to exotic environments through life-sized videoscapes with sound, smell, and touch. For rebound therapy, a trampoline is integrated into the stage using a hydraulic lift and removable lid. With so much technology and hardware on stage, careful consideration was given to the placement of stage lights and projection equipment alongside specialist pulley and hoist systems early on in the design process.
TEECOM led integrated 3D design with the architect, building engineer, technology companies, and others to package the complex structures into a very tight space without impacting either the life safety issues around the hoist systems or the technical performance of the sound, lighting, and projection systems. As this type of facility is so unique, a lot of flexibility was required in the commissioning and programming of the AV systems, as new use cases and applications became apparent throughout the process.
The sports hall will enable wheelchair football, disability cricket, and boccia. The facility will be specified to host league matches of Boccia, a recognised Paralympic sport that enables the young people to compete with each other on equal terms regardless of their level of disability.
The D.R.E.A.M. Centre will be available not just to the 236 young people who use the Chailey facilities, but to the wider local community, especially the scouts and local drama groups. Chailey anticipates that approximately 1,000 people will use the facility every year.
TEECOM provides strategic consulting, design and engineering, and project management services for IT infrastructure, wired and wireless networks, immersive environments, acoustics, audiovisual, virtual reality, and safety and security systems.