Converting a Gym to Multipurpose Room

Soundproofing for transformation of gym

To successfully transform a gymnasium into a multipurpose room, one must pay clear attention to the acoustics in the space.   A gathering of people stretched across a basketball court floor will suffer from poor room acoustics unless the perimeter wall or ceiling surfaces are treated with a set of sound panels designed to capture and convert the unwelcome echoes from the room.

Most gymnasiums are built in the shape of an oversized shoebox.   With three sets of parallel surfaces, all designed to be hard and reflective for durability purposes, a standard gym will render poor quality sound due to the standing sound waves that result, as well as the lack of absorption as sound waves bounce back and forth across the room, traveling in excess of 760 miles per hour.    The resulting background noise creates a nightmare for coaching, teaching, crowd noise, guest speakers, social fundraisers, dinners, and any other event that a multipurpose room might choose to host inside a gym space.

Control echoes with sound panels

To successfully control the echoes in a gym that converts to a multipurpose space, a set of decorative, durable sound panels can be introduced into the room, wall or ceiling mounted.   Baffles are often the more popular choice for space, as they tend to be less expensive to make, and therefore, less expensive to buy and place into the room.  Typically a baffle treatment can cost up to 50% less than a perimeter wall panel treatment, not because the baffles don’t work as well, but because they are simply a less expensive product to make.    Care must be given to properly analyzing the space prior to quoting the treatment, as baffles cannot and should not be used where there is less than 20’ ceiling height in a gym, or where a hard lid ceiling with flush-mounted lights would prevent baffles from vertically suspending off the ceiling.

In a standard gym, a basketball court floor, a metal deck ceiling, and concrete block perimeter wall surfaces will combine to capture and convert an average 5% of the echoes out of the room.   The balance of the sound wave is left to continue its travels along paths that reflect the waves over and over again, bouncing them around the room.   As a result, the echoes can take up to 10 seconds to die off traveling through dead air space.    In turn, human ear can only accept a 1.5-2.0 reverb time, so any echoes that carry for longer than 2 seconds will start to cause disruption to premium sound quality.

Sound panels, on the other hand, can absorb up to 80% of the same level of echo in the gym space.    By shutting down that much background noise, great clarity to original sound is restored to the room.    This premium sound quality would benefit a coach, a teacher, a public speaker, the PA system, a crowd of sports fans, a room full of people dining or sharing fellowship, as well as the students and athletes who rely on their teachers and coaches instruction.   Once those echoes are under control, the entire purpose of the multipurpose room will heal.   The sound values will be optimal.   All thanks to the panels that retrofit against the upper perimeter walls of the space, or the baffles that hang off the ceiling.    In either case, with the right amount of panel placed into the room, the quality of sound can be restored to premium levels.

What will soundproofing cost?

Average costs to convert a gym to a user friendly, acoustically tuned multipurpose venue can range in the $5000-$20,000 levels on average.    The costs will be wholly dependent on the amount of sound panel the room requires, and that number is based on the size, shape, and surface textures that define the room prior to the soundproofing treatment.    A simple Room Analysis can be performed for you that will define your sound panel needs, and quote the project back.    Simply call the help desk at NetWell Noise Control at 1-800-638-9355 and ask for free help.

As for mounting the panels, the vertical baffles suspend off the ceiling with wire or plastic zip ties.   They weigh just 2 pounds each, measuring 4’ wide x 2’ tall and come in an array of 25 color options.    The perimeter wall panels are normally mounted with a metal bracketing system, assuming the walls are concrete, block, or brick.   The panels can be easily self-installed by building maintenance staff to help curb costs and get the treatment approved in the budget.     Production time on sound panels will average 4 weeks + shipping time.

Get your questions on noise control answered

For questions related to your efforts to convert your gym space to a multipurpose venue, visit us online at or call 1-800-638-9355.

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