Shedding Light on a Challenging Glass Curtain Wall System
WATFORD CITY, ND Sunlight is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of North Dakota. But if you ever visit the new Watford City High School and neighboring Watford City Event Center, you might change your view.
Currently under construction, the three-story, 160,000-square-foot high school and 269,000-square-foot event center feature glass curtain wall systems that maximize day lighting to each facility, promoting a strong learning environment.
That distinctive design element presents unusual challenges for delivery, particularly in the harsh extremes of the northern plains, where wind gusts of 50 mph, temperatures ranging from 30 below to more than 100 above, and driving rain and snow are not uncommon. Finding a solution that balanced design with quality, budget and schedule goals called for a multidisciplinary Design Assist (DA) approach. Below, members of the DA team recapped the successful effort.
"During the schematic design phase, KA looked at several exterior options including storefront and curtain wall systems," said Brad Harvey, Project Manager, Kraus-Anderson. "When it was determined that a complete curtain wall system was the best design option, KA's Mike Spence (VP of Quality) collaborated with JLG Architects to create a performance specification."
Four curtain wall contractor proposals were reviewed and presented to the city and school boards for approval, and Ford Metro Glass (FMI) was selected. FMI brought in Wheaton Sprague, a curtain wall design firm, as consultant.
"The KA construction team coordination and quality assurance process was critical in having all team players at the table to review and understand critical details of the curtain wall construction for the WCHS and WCEC projects," said Jerry Richardson, Lead Architect at JLG Architects. "Every partner in the design process represented their experience and professional viewpoint at each meeting to maintain design intent while addressing performance and constructability issues."
Wheaton Sprague was instrumental in providing design assistance in studying the overall thermal performance of the swimming pool curtain wall system. Early thermal performance studies showed that the typical curtain wall system would not perform as required. The final solution was to provide a triple pane insulated glass system and to eliminate the exterior pressure plate and cap instead specifying a structurally silicone glazed system at vertical and horizontal frames.
The new Watford City High School will serve 800 students in grades 7-12 and is a joint venture with KA and Grand Forks, North Dakota, -based Construction Engineers, Inc.
Features include classrooms, cafeteria, commons, kitchen, multimedia center and learning resource center, gymnasium, cardio weight room, wrestling ring, theater, shop, and band and choral rooms. Completion is scheduled for January 2016.
The event center will feature a swimming pool, field house with three basketball courts, two-sheet ice arena for hockey and skating, gymnastics facilities, football stadium with track, baseball and softball stadiums, convention space and a 3,000-seat venue for concerts and sporting events; plus parking lots, conference rooms and administrative offices. Completion of the event center is scheduled for September 2016.