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AV Case Study: Toowoomba Grammar School

Aurora LED makes a perfect scoreboard for this 150-year-old school's Old Boys' Memorial Oval.

By

15 May 2024

Toowoomba Grammar School (TGS) has been around a while. It was established in 1875, and it’s now 2024, so that means TGS is heading for its 150th celebration next year of turning out the best and brightest students in the country. That’s an impressive achievement when you remember the school’s humble beginnings high in the Darling Downs in the Colony of Queensland (yes, ‘colony’).

Everything about TGS is impressive. The school has a reputation for excellence and success that has made Toowoomba Grammar somewhat of a benchmark for similar institutions. Everyone keeps a close eye on what TGS is doing and often follows its lead, and this can be especially true when it comes to how a traditional, long-established school like TGS transitions into the latest technology.

THE CHALLENGE

There is a strong culture of sport at Toowoomba Grammar, and replacing the ancient electronic scoreboards at two of the school’s playing fields was a project involving more than simply installing standard signage and software. The school wanted something bespoke and unique to TGS. The location also had to be taken into account; the Queensland weather isn’t kind to outdoor installations – even in Toowoomba, which, with its elevation in the Downs enjoys a milder climate that earns Toowoomba the title of ‘The Garden City’.

Other considerations were on the practical side. TGS prefers to engage local businesses and organisations wherever possible, not just for the obvious goodwill and support in the community, but because Brisbane is just that extra distance away and after-sales service from the capital can be problematic.

THE SOLUTION

Visual Focus (VF) has been established in Toowoomba for nearly 20 years, growing alongside and in pace with the AV industry and the developing technology. Tyler Morriss is VF’s System Design Consultant and has been working with the school’s AV and IT department for many years. Morriss has in the past come up with great solutions using Aurora products, and without hesitation he suggested two identical scoreboard systems, each composed of Aurora VSPEC LED cabinets. A matrix of seven by four, 28 cabinets in total (no calculator needed there) created a display of 3.5m by 2.0m. Toowoomba Grammar wanted to retain the existing brick and steel frame structure of the old scoreboards because of the dedications to past TGS luminaries (respectively the ‘Old Boys’ Memorial Oval’ and the ‘Mills Oval’) and the screen design needed to incorporate this. The brickwork and timber constructions were kept – with a lick of paint – and only the steel frames needed extending.

Next came the scoreboard software, and this is where Toowoomba Grammar wanted something that was distinct from everything else and ultimately representative of TGS.

Visual Focus’s Scott Meares stepped up to the crease and began writing a new software application from scratch. Frequent consultation with TGS was needed so the school got exactly what it needed, but at the same time, Meares found himself developing an app that has become a template for future clients and installations without infringing on Toowoomba Grammar’s specific design. It is now proudly known as Score One. It’s not just effective and intuitive, but visually striking and wonderfully easy to use. From now on, Score One will be the default software for Visual Focus on these kinds of applications.

THE RESULT

Morriss couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the Aurora LED cabinets and their performance, and the versatility that the Aurora screens provide. He says, “They’re rock solid and reliable even in the harshest of environments. We’ve have put these Aurora screens on roadside locations in the middle of nowhere and they keep going with little fuss or downtime.”

Morriss is equally full of praise for Westan. “They’ve got almost every cabinet size and combination you could think of, all in top-quality products, and Paul Ciobo and the team at Westan in Brisbane are right behind us assisting with design ideas, advice and getting the equipment to you as fast as possible. After-sales service is excellent. Westan always comes through when you need it.”

Toowoomba Grammar School continues its tradition of providing the students and staff with nothing but the best in facilities, and it applied that ethos even when it came to something as straightforward as new digital signage for the playing fields. Thanks to Visual Focus and Westan, even the scoreboards are the best and the brightest.

Visual Focus: visualfocus.com.au
Westan: westan.com.au

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