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2012 Article: How to Maximize Your Space
By: Mark Wilson

Your church is growing but your building is not. What can you do to maximize space utilization?  Do a walk-through and see if the space available can be used more efficiently. Can a large hall be converted into several classrooms or meeting rooms? The key to getting the maximum number of functions for square footage available could be to use movable or operable walls.

Depending on the room layout, operable walls can be set up on different room configurations. There are four basic movable wall types: individual panels, hinged pairs, continuously hinged manual, and continuously hinged electrically operated. An operable wall manufacturer can help you pick the most economical wall system that fits your needs. All of these walls are mounted from a top supported track system; make sure the overhead structure will support the weight of the wall system. This might involved getting an architect and a structural engineer involved.

Another consideration for an operable wall system will be sound control. You will need to answer the following questions. What is the room being used for? What will be the level of noise in the room? What other materials will be used in the construction of the room and the furnishing of the room? After you have answers to these questions, you will be able to decide just how "sound proof" the operable wall system needs to be. Wall systems are acoustically rated by their STC rating (the Sound Transmission Class); the higher the STC rating, the more effective the sound insulation. Remember, there is no such thing as a soundproof moveable wall. Be aware of flanking paths. Flanking paths are leaks in the construction of a room through which sound will travel. Sound can travel through the air handling ductwork, above the ceiling and track, or be transmitted through the flooring material.

You can pick the accessories and options that come with these products. There are hundreds of color choices in vinyls, fabrics, vertically ribbed carpets, and wood veneers to complement your building's décor. Accessories incorporated into the panels make them a functional part of the room space; writing surfaces, recessed marker trays, and tackable surfaces are available. You can even incorporate ADA-compliant pass doors with exit signs enable you to move from room to room even with the panels extended.

Most manufacturers will have local or regional distributors that will take the time to come to your church and meet with you. They have the knowledge and experience to inform you about the options available for a movable wall system and help you choose the correct system for your space division needs. Many manufacturers offer different options for sales and installation; contact the manufacturer for details.

Mark Wilson is brand manager for Kwik-Wall, www.kwik-wall.com.


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