notre dame high school theatre renovation

Princeton, NJ

When Princeton’s historic Notre Dame High School decided to renovate their 62-year-old, 1,200 seat theater, they called on Encon to cool, heat, and ventilate the theater. The catch? For an architecturally dramatic effect, there were to be no ceilings installed.

Encon partnered with the architectural firm Saphire & Albarran and Notre Dame High School management to engineer and install a system that provides the occupants with an “invisible” HVAC system. The system cannot be seen or heard yet provides uniform comfort regardless of variation in occupancy or outside conditions. It took 5 months between concept design, drawing, approval and installation. This included preparation of engineering drawing, submissions to the town and obtaining necessary approvals.

One of the secrets to a successful project is bringing together experts in various specialized fields. This was Encon’s approach. We went to work and assembled a crack team who were able to make a plan and select the right equipment. With equipment selected, we quickly moved forward to find means and methods of eliminating noise generated by airflow both in the ductwork and created by the high velocity of forcing air down to comfort level 30 feet below.

To accomplish this Encon specified custom designed “sound attenuation” devices, known as sound traps, in the duct system to absorb any sound emanating from the roof top equipment into the ductwork. Moving further down the air distribution system, our concern was the elimination of any noise that could be generated by traditional metal ductwork. The substitution of fabric ductwork known as “ductsox” would assure us maximum noise attenuation. While operating at maximum output, the sound levels in the theater are similar to a quiet library and the temperature gradient between the highest seat in the mezzanine and lowest seat in the orchestra are negligible.


Established in 1968, we are an award-winning, second generation family business providing outstanding, single-source, and energy-conscious HVAC services throughout New Jersey.

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