Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) Sound Masking

EDC sound maskingEducation Development Center, Inc. (EDC) is a $190M international, nonprofit organization that conducts programs in education, health and international development around the world.

EDC currently has more than 1,600 employees—about half in the United States and half overseas. The organization’s 120,000 sq. ft. headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts, was designed by Sasaki Associates and Taylor & Burns and renovated by Commodore Builders. It now houses nearly 420 employees, in a collaborative, open work environment. The office features a café, multiple breakout and soft-seating areas, a flexible conference center accommodating 184 people and state-of-the-art audio/visual systems that facilitate global operations and communications.

The conference center was the key element that prompted acoustical consultants, Acentech, to recommend the installation of a sound masking and speech-privacy system manufactured by Cambridge Sound Management. To create the atmosphere EDC desired and to leverage other ‘green’ building elements (such as the maximization of interior light), there was limited use of ACT ceilings and modular furniture walls were kept to 48”.
The designers recognized that the combination of high, hard ceilings and low cubical walls would create distraction and privacy issues between employees. The obvious answer was a sound masking system.

Connectivity Point, an authorized dealer/installer for Cambridge Sound Management (CSM), was selected by Commodore Builders to install the sound masking and speech-privacy system throughout the two-story building. CSM’s “direct field” system was perfect for this application and enabled EDC to effectively “mask” competing conversations that would otherwise cause distractions and defeat the open collaborative environment. Connectivity Point used a variety of mounts to secure emitters to the ceiling and the cables used to connect emitters were carefully installed to minimize visibility.

In a Commodore press release, Tom Rielly, EDC’s Director of Operations, stated, “The project team was outstanding in building a collaborative, comfortable and environmentally sensitive office space while meeting a very difficult schedule with stringent financial considerations.”

Connectivity Point was complimented on the neatness of the installation and EDC was pleased with the pleasant ‘whoosh’ of the sound masking system which made the vision of their new work spaces possible. “The new space enables a high level of collaboration and communication among staff and company leaders,” said EDC Board Chair Martin Suomi in an EDC press release. “This move has been a key piece of EDC’s strategic plan, and we are pleased to see it come to fruition.”

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