MSU’s Bio Engineering Facility Features Tubelite Product

MSU-BioEng_IDS-KSM1912_webMichigan State University (MSU) opens the doors to its new Bio Engineering Facility and to new, collaborative research opportunities contributing toward technology transfer to the private sector and the state’s emerging bio-based economy. The four-story, 130,000-square-foot research laboratory building is located in the South Academic District in East Lansing.

The Bio Engineering Facility’s design team included MSU and architectural/engineering consultants Integrated Design Solutions (IDS). A palette of gray, white and black in glass and metal distinguish the new facility from both the traditional red brick of the campus standard and beige of the cast concrete of the more recent structures.

“The color was selected… to somewhat match the color palette and context of the surrounding buildings,” explained Jeff Kasdorf, MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities‘ design representative. “We did not however want to replicate the precast concrete or metal panel that was used in the adjacent facilities.”

IDS senior associate and project architect, Kevin S. Marshall, AIA, LEED® BD+C, agreed, “The facility had to blend into the campus, tie into its surroundings, but also stand out as its own destination.”

Essential to the building’s aesthetic and function, Tubelite Inc. provided the Bio Engineering Facility’s curtainwall and entrance systems. Linetec finished all of Tubelite’s aluminum framing in Valspar‘s Fluropon® coating systems in Bone White.

MSU-BioEng_IDS-KSM1895_web“Getting the white just right was important,” emphasized Marshall. “We wanted the white of the curtainwall and the metal panels to match. We didn’t want one to look dingy or dirty compared to the other.”

“Utilizing the latest technologies to analyze and formulate thousands of color variations ensures creation of the exact color specified,” said Linetec‘s senior marketing specialist, Tammy Schroeder, LEED Green Associate. “Valspar’s Fluropon coatings offer the ultimate protection in building performance and lasting color.”

Valspar’s premium Fluropon systems are comprised of 70 percent polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) proprietary resins for field-proven, exterior quality finishes that meet or exceed the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s stringent standard, AAMA 2605 high-performance exterior specification. Fluropon demonstrates reliable performance, including resistance to harmful ultraviolet rays, chemical degradation, abrasions and humidity. Durable finishes contribute to the project’s longevity and reduce the need for maintenance throughout its life cycle.

Linetec’s industry-leading practices also safely capture and destroy the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in liquid paints at the factory before arrival on the building site to support green building goals, such as MSU’s sustainability guidelines. Further contributing to green campus projects, the aluminum used to produce Tubelite systems was extruded using EcoLuminum™, a high recycled-content aluminum billet composition.

Multi-phased, Multidisciplinary

Faculty from the College of Engineering, College of Human Medicine and the College of Natural Science are the primary occupants of the building. Additional interdepartmental benefits are anticipated as the Bio Engineering Facility is physically connected to the Clinical Center C-wing, and the Life Science B-wing, and is adjacent to the Radiology buildings.

According to MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities: “Collaboration between researchers from different disciplines, ranging from chemical engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering to pharmacology, physiology and radiology, will be essential in the development of new areas of research, such as tissue engineering. The new laboratory space will provide research capacity necessary to support new hires and funded researchers in the area, and allow collaborators from different academic units to be co-located.”

MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities involved IDS early in the Bio Engineering Facility’s development to ensure the strategic, aesthetic and performance goals were achieved. Construction started in September 2013 and was completed in December 2015. Ken Gottschalk, MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities’ construction representative, oversaw the $57.7 million budget and worked closely with Clark Construction Company on the multi-phased timeline.

“Because this is a multi-disciplinary research facility, it did not need to hold to an academic calendar,” said Marshall. “The first phase focused on the building envelope, shell, core and first two floors. The other two floors were then built to include wet-bench research laboratories, offices and additional collaborative space, such as shared equipment areas.”

Scale, Style, Specification

MSU-BioEng_IDS-KSM1851_webWithin the Bio Engineering Facility, laboratories have an open-floor design and their modular construction provide flexibility as the nature of research evolves. “The design of the new building features a four-story atrium with an artistic stairway configuration that resembles a giant DNA strand. The terrazzo flooring design mimics a nerve cell pattern,” described IDS vice president and director of workplace architecture, Jeffrey D. Johnson, AIA.

Marshall elaborated, “On the exterior, the curtainwall design corresponds to the activity taking place inside. The communal spaces are represented by tall sections of curtainwall and the workstations by the shorter sections. While the exposed structure allows for tall floor-to-floor spans, we chose to emphasize the horizontal.”

Bringing the architectural vision to reality, Glazing Solutions installed Tubelite’s entrance systems and its 400 Series curtainwall with 5-inch-deep back members. Tubelite’s Narrow Stile and Wide Stile Doors were selected with continuous hinges and subframes. The aluminum-framed doors’ tie-rod assembly is as durable as welded-corner construction, but can be modified, disassembled or resized in the field for a precise fit. Engineered for low- and mid-rise applications, like MSU’s four-story Bio Engineering Facility, Tubelite’s 400 Series curtainwall‘s durable framework provides exceptional structural performance, reducing the need for steel reinforcing.

Complementing the curtainwall, a ribbon of tri-colored composite metal panels further defines the main entrances. Black brickwork and stainless steel rainscreens carry the facility’s color palette from exterior to interior.

Engineered for Energy Savings

MSU-BioEng_IDS-KSM1920_web“Along with providing a leading-edge facility that helped change the way scientists work, the university’s top performance objective was the ambitious goal of 50 percent overall energy savings,” noted Johnson. “The result was a groundswell of cooperation and support to reach new heights in energy savings.”

Walt Lutzke, Tubelite’s marketing coordinator, observed, “Research laboratory facilities are well known for being energy consumers, not conservationists. It’s an impressive achievement and we were glad to be involved.”

In addition to the MSU-owned co-generation plant and Bio Engineering Facility’s energy recovery systems, Tubelite’s curtainwall system also contributes to this achievement. “The curtainwall provides thermal performance, and manages solar heat gain and condensation risk, as supported by the insulated and low-e coated glass,” explained Marshall.

Guardian Industries supplied the raw glass and Oldcastle fabricated the insulated glazing units. Making installation as easy as possible, Tubelite’ 400 Series curtainwall uses an exterior screw-applied pressure bar to secure the glass in place. The high-performance curtainwall system provides year-round comfort and supports heating and cooling cost savings.

Marshall continued, “Throughout the building’s façade, there’s a graduated pattern from transparent to solid. Two types of silkscreened patterns were used: one with 40 percent dots and one with 80 percent dots. Its subtle shading cuts down on glare. On the south side of the building, there’s also interior light shelves and automated shading to help control and direct the natural light.”

“Across the country, 40 percent of the energy used is from buildings. By investing in highly efficient energy-control systems, we can save money that can be better used for academics,” Dan Bollman, assistant vice president for strategic infrastructure planning and facilities at MSU, told the Lansing Business Review. “We are always looking to improve the quality and quantity of the research we do. This facility will advance science and strengthen our research portfolio.”

Stephen Hsu, MSU vice president of research and graduate studies, concluded, “This building, with its emphasis on bringing together engineers and basic science researchers with medical researchers, will provide us with remarkable opportunities for solving some of humanity’s biggest challenges. It also will help us attract more competitive, nationally funded projects and recruit the best minds to work with us – both faculty and graduate students.”


Michigan State University’s Bio Engineering Facility, East Lansing, MI
* Owner: Michigan State University; East Lansing, Michigan;
* Design representative: Michigan State University’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities; East Lansing, Michigan;
* Architectural/engineering consultant: Integrated Design Solutions; Troy, Michigan;
* Construction representative: Michigan State University’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities; East Lansing, Michigan;
* Construction manager: Clark Construction Company; East Lansing, Michigan;
* Composite metal panels – fabricator: 3A Composites USA, Alucobond®; Benton, Kentucky;
* Composite metal panels – fabricator: Sobotec Ltd.; Grand Rapids, Michigan;
* Glazing contractor: Glazing Solutions, Inc.; Morrice, Michigan;
* Curtainwall and entrance systems – manufacturer: Tubelite Inc.; Walker, Michigan;
* Curtainwall and entrance systems – glass manufacturer: Guardian Industries; Auburn Hills, Michigan;
* Curtainwall and entrance systems – glass fabricator: Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®;
* Curtainwall and entrance systems – finisher: Linetec; Wausau, Wisconsin;
* Curtainwall and entrance systems – coatings manufacturer: Valspar; Minneapolis;

* Photos by: Integrated Design Solutions, Kevin S. Marshall; courtesy of Valspar


About Tubelite Inc.

Established in 1945, Tubelite celebrates 70 years of dependable service, fabrication and distribution of architectural aluminum products. Part of Apogee Enterprises, Inc., the company is an industry leader in eco-efficient storefront, curtainwall and entrance systems, and recognized for its fast, reliable and consistent delivery. Tubelite’s corporate office, fabrication, warehouse and shipping operations are located in Walker, Michigan. Its Dallas location provides additional fabrication, warehouse and shipping operations, and its facility in Reed City, Michigan, houses the company’s aluminum extrusion operation.

Tubelite and its staff are members of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), the Glass Association of North America (GANA), the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), the Society of Military Engineers (SAME) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).


Media contact: Heather West, 612-724-8760, heather@heatherwest


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Tubelite Helps Transform ArtsQuest Center Historic Steel Mill

ArtsQuest SteelStacksPennsylvania’s ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks is a new 4.5 acre year-round art center located on a reclaimed brownfield at the western end of the 150-year-old Bethlehem Steel manufacturing site. Spillman Farmer Architects designed the 66,000-square-foot, $17.3 million arts facility as a transformative and transparent space, with an exterior featuring curtainwall and entrance systems from Tubelite Inc.

Located at the core of the campus, ArtsQuest Center houses performance spaces for a multi-disciplinary arts program offering more than 1,000 concerts and eight different festivals annually. It includes a two-screen art cinema; 600-seat Musikfest Café live music venue; and the 4,000-square-foot Blast Furnace room, which will host a variety of community and educational functions.

The facility is part of a master plan developed by ArtsQuest, a nonprofit organization engaging in revitalizing communities through the arts, and by SteelStacks, a 10-acre campus dedicated to arts, culture, family events, community celebrations, education and fun. ArtsQuest raised $26 million to fund the Center, added to $40 million from the City of Bethlehem and the Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority (BRA).

After a national search for an architectural firm and a rigorous interview process, Pennsylvania-based Spillman Farmer was selected for the firm’s understanding of the site’s history, technical expertise and thoughtful approach to making meaningful spaces focused on human-centered design. The facility’s design and construction also followed Silver certification criteria of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® v2.2 guidelines for energy-efficient and environmentally sound new construction.

“The architecture of the ArtsQuest Center is influenced by its industrial site. It embraces our region and its culture, recognizing the material and human spirit that fueled the industry of this country,” stated Spillman Farmer’s design principal, Joseph N. Biondo, “As a firm, we see this project as an expression of structure, material, and site.”

Working closely with the Spillman Farmer, the owners, the specialty contractors and the product manufacturers, Alvin H. Butz, Inc. served as the project’s general contractor. Glazing contractor Hutt’s Glass, recommended and installed Tubelite’s 400 Series Curtainwall and Medium Stile Doors.

ArtsQuest SteelStacksThe general contractor’s website describes ArtsQuest Center’s façade: “The north wall of the three-story building is glass, allowing visitors to view the Bethlehem Steel furnaces. Every exposed steel beam is painted International Orange, the same color as the Golden Gate Bridge, which was built from steel produced by those furnaces. …The building envelope is a hybrid structural system, which also serves as load-bearing skin allowing for the performance spaces to be acoustically isolated. Inside the structural concrete box is a skeletal steel frame that honors the site’s steelmaking history and completes the hybrid system.”

Engineered for low- and mid-rise applications, like ArtsQuest Center’s three-story building, Tubelite’s 400 Series curtainwall’s durable framework provides exceptional structural performance, reducing the need for steel reinforcing. For this project, it features 2.5-inch sightlines with a 6-inch system depth on the interior and 8-inch depth on the exterior. Snap-on covers allow for different finishes on interior and exterior exposed surfaces, and silicone-glazed verticals are available for a seamless appearance. Tubelite’s Medium Stile Doors can be finished to match, complement or contrast with the curtainwall framing.

Linetec finished the aluminum framing of Tubelite’s curtainwall and entrance systems in custom Charcoal Grey color blended in-house and applied as a two-coat 70 percent polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) resin-based coating. Linetec’s blending laboratory has six individual mix and match color systems, encompassing the three leading high-performance paint manufacturers. Tested to meet the stringent American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) 2605 specifications, these finishes ensure a durable, long-lasting performance.

Linetec’s industry-leading practices also safely capture and destroy the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in liquid paints at the factory before arrival on the building site to support green building goals. Further contributing to projects’ sustainability, the aluminum used to produce Tubelite systems was extruded using EcoLuminum™, a high recycled-content aluminum billet composition.

The aluminum-framed doors’ tie-rod assembly is as durable as welded-corner construction, but can be modified, disassembled or resized in the field for a precise fit. Making installation as easy as possible, Tubelite’ 400 Series curtainwall uses an exterior screw-applied pressure bar to secure the glass in place.

For ArtsQuest Center, Spillman Farmer specified the largest possible expanses of insulated glass at 75 by 138 inches. In addition to its size, PPG Industries’ Solarban® 60 glass was chosen for its ability to block 62 percent of total solar energy, while allowing through 70 percent of visible light. Glazed in Tubelite’s aluminum framing, the high-performance curtainwall system provides year-round comfort and supports heating and cooling cost savings.

Completed in 2011, ArtsQuest Center continues to attract attention and win awards. In 2014, Urban Land Institute (ULI) Global Award for Excellence for its role in helping to redevelop one of the largest Brownfields in the nation. In 2013, Architizer A+ Awards selected the project as a winner in the +Urban Transformation category.

In accepting the award, Spillman Farmer’s Biondo, said, “Honoring our country’s industrial past is a critical first step to healthy and vibrant revitalization. We are fortunate to work in a community comprised of visionary and steadfast leadership working together toward a common goal. Embracing our history, while introducing a diversity of arts, culture, and technology will always become a catalyst in transforming urban areas.”

Also in 2013, Spillman Farmer was honored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Pennsylvania chapter as the inaugural recipient of the AIA Pennsylvania Firm Award recognizing outstanding achievements in the profession over the last decade. The previous year, in 2012, the AIA Pennsylvania chapter also presented the firm with a Silver Medal Award for ArtsQuest Center.

In the words of the AIA jurors: “The design captures the energy and utilitarian beauty that the best of the industrial revolution once offered. At the same time, it demonstrates the power that a truly successful marriage of architecture and program can exert in bringing new purpose and hope to the most abandoned parts of our community.”


ArtsQuest Center, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania  18015
* Owner: ArtsQuest; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania;
* Architect: Spillman Farmer; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania;
* General contractor: Alvin H. Butz, Inc.; Allentown, Pennsylvania;
* Glazing contractor: Hutt’s Glass; Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania;
* Curtainwall and entrance systems – glass: PPG Industries’ Solarban® 60; Pittsburgh;
* Curtainwall and entrance systems – manufacturer: Tubelite Inc.; Walker, Michigan;
* Curtainwall and entrance systems – finisher: Linetec; Wausau, Wisconsin;
* Photos by: Paul S. Bartholomew Photography, LLC


Media contact: Heather West, 612-724-8760,

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Louisville Library Begins Chapter with Tubelite Systems

Tubelite_KY_SWregLibrary_LSwimmer_web1Louisville’s new Southwest Regional Library recently opened its doors, which were provided by Tubelite Inc. along with its curtainwall and storefront framing. This new 40,000-square-foot, $10.2 million library boasts more than 120,000 books and materials, 100 public computers and the largest children’s library in the system. With respect to long-term environmental and economic sustainability, the project is pursuing LEED® Gold certification.

Southwest Regional Library is part of a master plan developed in 2008 by Minneapolis-based Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle (MSR). It is the first of three new buildings planned by the Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL) system. “The master plan really set the vision for the service to the entire community. It included how to deal with their existing facilities, but also to be able to expand the service into areas and communities that are under reached,” explained MSR’s principal and architect, Matthew Kruntorad, AIA, LEED AP.

JRA Architects of Louisville collaborated with LFPL and MSR on Southwest Regional Library’s design. Sullivan Cozart served as the project’s construction manager and glazing contractor Koch Corporation specified and installed Tubelite’s entrance, curtainwall and window wall systems.
Kruntorad elaborated, “It’s essentially a one-story open floor plan. Tubelite’s systems supported one of our overriding goals, which was to bring the children’s area up front, expressing the activity within the library and making it directly visible as one approached the building.”

The exterior was inspired by the act of discovery, with symbolic metal curtains that are peeled away to reveal greater knowledge within. Kruntorad continued, “The main entrance features two pairs of 9-foot-tall, wide stile doors from Tubelite – two pairs swing in and two swing out. Tubelite’s curtainwall also provided a key element for the library’s design’s daylight and transparency.”

Tubelite’s structurally glazed curtainwall allowed the project “to eliminate the exterior metal mullion covers, create an extremely clean exterior appearance and make the curtainwalls appear as open as possible,” added JRA’s project architect, Colin Drake, AIA, LEED AP. “Overall, the façade is like a village of buildings, set side by side. The building takes on a much more personal scale than the overwhelming monolithic façades common with the surrounding suburban context.”

Multiple concepts were reviewed during the project’s design planning phase. Drake remembered, “Originally, we had a much more monolithic building to try and compete with the scale of much larger nearby buildings. Then, we decided to break up the façade, pushing and pulling the pieces in plan and elevation to express the interior planning more clearly on the exterior, as well as creating opportunities for visitors to discover nuances about the building as they approached. The central curtainwall, which was dubbed the ‘beacon bay,’ stands above the rest of the building to draw sunlight deep into the building during the day and use the interior lighting to glow outward in the evening.”

The beacon bay features glazing frosted on the exterior and interior in offset, vertical stripes. From a distance, it appears to be a solid frost, but up close is revealed to allow clear views through the glass at certain angles. “In a truly progressive modern library, lighting is everything,” said Drake. By incorporating clerestories on the beacon bay, as well as in other strategic spots, the abundance of natural light in the space allows artificial lighting to be reduced in real time to minimize energy consumption.

Further supporting energy-efficiency criteria, both the curtainwall and window wall incorporate low-e insulating glass to reduce solar heat gain in the summer and heat loss in winter, thus ensuring year-round comfort for Louisville library users. “The storefront framing design allows for economical, on-site fabrication. It also virtually eliminates the transference of frost and condensation with industry-standard thermal breaks, providing framing members to incorporate the library’s entrance doors,” said Jim Oberlin, Tubelite’s Eastern regional sales manager.

Complementing the doors and window wall, Tubelite’s 400 Series curtainwall proved ideal for the scale and metallic aesthetic of the new library. To ensure a precise installation, Koch’s glazing team conducted field measurements prior to Tubelite manufacturing it. An eight-person crew handled the on-site installation, which was completed in October 2014. Koch’s project manager, Edwin Penna, noted, “We have a long-term relationship with Tubelite. We know how to work well together to meet the unique requirements of each project.”
Tubelite’s 400 Series curtainwall features 2.5-inch sightlines and an overall 6-inch system depth. Its durable framework provides exceptional structural performance, reducing the need for steel reinforcing. The aluminum used to produce Tubelite systems was extruded using EcoLuminum™, a high recycled-content aluminum billet composition with eco-friendly finishes.

Enhancing the project’s environmental attributes, longevity and metallic appearance, the recycled aluminum framing was finished by Linetec using clear anodize on the interior and bronze anodize on the exterior. Because anodize is an integral part of the substrate, the coating delivers excellent wear and abrasion resistance with minimal maintenance. Anodize process by-products are recyclable and anodized aluminum is 100 percent recyclable.

Recognizing Southwest Regional Library’s exceptional design with metal, the project was named the overall winner in the 2014 Metal Construction News Building and Roofing Awards.


Southwest Regional Library, 9725 Dixie Highway, Louisville, KY 40272,
* Owner: Louisville Free Public Library; Louisville, Kentucky;
* Architect: Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd.; Minneapolis;
* Architect: JRA Architects; Louisville, Kentucky;
* Construction manager: Sullivan Cozart; Louisville, Kentucky;
* Glazing contractor: Koch Corporation; Louisville, Kentucky;
* Curtainwall, window wall and entrance systems – manufacturer: Tubelite Inc.; Walker, Michigan;
* Curtainwall, window wall and entrance systems – finisher: Linetec; Wausau, Wisconsin;
* Photographer: Lara Swimmer Photography


Media contact: Heather West,

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Mansfield Center for Performing Arts Uses Tubelite’s Products

Tubelite_TX_MansfieldISD-PerfArtsCtr1_Huckabee_webAt 141,000 square feet and situated on a Texas hill, Mansfield Independent School District’s Center for the Performing Arts commands an audience amongst the students, staff and the community. Its oversized entrances are matched with large, curving spans of glass and aluminum storefront and curtainwall with sun shades – all provided by Tubelite Inc. Towering concrete columns accent the façade for a sense of flow and cascading mass.

Designed by Huckabee, the high school’s new performing arts center opened for its first event in 2012. The 5,500-seat Cunningham Performance Hall sits at its heart. Its multi-use design enables the hall to be divided into three separate event venues – including two 750-person lecture halls. In addition, a professional development center accommodates up to 500 and can be divided into six separate break-out rooms designed for meeting, training and banquet needs. Adjacent to the space are three state-of-the-art computer laboratories.

Photos courtesy of HuckabeeByrne Construction Services managed the nearly two year-long building project estimated at more than $40 million. Texas Commercial Glass Concepts brought the signature look from creation to completion with Tubelite’s products. In total, 3,400 lineal feet of Tubelite’s 400 Series curtainwall and 14000 Series storefront wrap the performing arts center. A forecourt plaza collects visitors as they approach the facility, and a short set of stairs emphasizes the procession up the covered walkway, leading to the 9-foot-high wide stile doors at the central lobby tower.

“They wanted an impressive building with big stretches of radius curtainwall, lots of glass and monumental doors.” Tubelite was able to step in, meeting the spec and schedule, without missing a beat,” said Patric Murphy, vice president/operations manager at Texas Commercial Glass Concepts. “It was one of our larger jobs and it turned out very well. It definitely is impressive.”

Photos courtesy of HuckabeeBeyond aesthetics, Tubelite’s thermally improved, 7-inch-deep curtainwall and Max/Block™ sun shades help keep out the Texas heat. The sun shades’ 5-inch airfoil blades and tubular fascia direct wind and water away from the building. Enhancing the systems’ durability, Linetec finished all of the aluminum framing and sun shades in clear anodize.

“This is truly a standout building,” says Tubelite’s local client development manager. “The entrances, curtainwall and sun shades magnify the scale and sweep of the design viewed from the exterior. Grand views and lots of daylight bring a warmth and sense of place to the interior.”


Mansfield Independent School District, Center for the Performing Arts, 1110 W Debbie Lane, Mansfield, TX 76063;
* Architect: Huckabee; Fort Worth, Texas;
* General contractor: Byrne Construction Services; Fort Worth, Texas;
* Glazing contractor: Texas Commercial Glass Concepts, L.P.; Weatherford, Texas;
* Glazing systems – finisher: Linetec; Wausau, Wisconsin;
* Glazing systems – manufacturer: Tubelite Inc.; Walker, Michigan;
* Photos courtesy of: Huckabee


Media contact: Heather West,

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Utah State University Wayne Estes Center Features Tubelite Curtainwall

Tubelite_UT_USUtrainingCtr6_TysonBybee_webIn his 20-plus years of coaching, Stew Morrill never had an office with a window. Now, Utah State University’s (USU’s) head basketball coach enjoys a gorgeous view of Cache Valley and the Wellsville Mountains framed by Tubelite’s curtainwall systems. Morill’s office is part of the University’s recently completed 32,744 square-foot Wayne Estes Training Center, which houses the campus’ basketball practice facility and 1,400-seat volleyball court. The center seeks LEED® Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, a standard that all new USU projects within the last seven years has earned.

Morrill tours USU recruits through the Center with pride and happily hosts them in his office — something he and his staff had never done before the new facility opened in May 2014. The expansive glass and metal façade that characterizes his office — and the $9.7 million facility as a whole — gives the building the aesthetic and practical appeal crucial for competing in the ultra-competitive recruiting environment of college athletics.

The impressive, daylight-filled lobby interior of the new facility, recognizes the Center’s namesake, Wayne Estes, as the greatest basketball player in USU’s history. He played for the Aggies from 1963 to 1965 and likely would have gone on to play in the NBA, but died in an electrical accident in 1965. He was posthumously given All-American honor  by the Associated Press, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1967. A large mural, memorabilia and a touchscreen educational kiosk share his life’s story in the building that serves as a tribute to his legacy. In addition to the memorial lobby and the office space, the facility contains a training room, strength-and-conditioning area, two regulation-size basketball courts and a regulation-size volleyball competition court.

Before the Center came online, USU was utilizing a nearby high school court for some of its basketball and volleyball practices, because there was not enough court space available on campus. These scheduling challenges were in turn causing interruptions to student-athletes’ class schedules. “Wayne Estes Center provides an outstanding opportunity to recruit student-athletes because of the services it provides, and the wow factor it has,” said Scott Barnes, USU vice president and director of athletics.”

Tubelite_UT_USUtrainingCtr9_TysonBybee_webDesigned by VCBO Architecture, USU’s new Wayne Estes Training Center was built by Okland Construction on a 10-month timeline. Beginning in September 2013, glazing contractor Steel Encounters Inc. installed the Center’s signature exterior curtainwall using Tubelite’s 400 Series system. Using Tubelite’s standard sun shade clips, Ducworks Inc. added a stainless steel, laser-cut, bull-shaped “Aggie” logo to accent the building.

The room above the court is called “the closing room,” because it presents such an enticing view for recruits visiting the facility. “The curtainwall system that contains the ‘closing room’ had to be as unobstructed as possible to enhance game views from this location,” notes VCBO’s principal, Derek Payne, AIA, LEED AP. “Potential recruits, potential donors and important visitors will all enjoy games from this location. The look of the cantilevering glass cube from the court below is also important. The sleek, mullionless look of this projection into the playing venue adds a bit of surprise and elegance to the game environment.”

Along with its attractive design, USU’s Wayne Estes Training Center was built to meet performance standards set by Utah’s Division of Facilities Construction & Management’s State Building Energy Efficiency Program (DFCM’s SBEEP). This program works to increase energy efficiency in both new and existing state buildings, and includes design and building to LEED Silver requirements. Since 2006, SBEEP reports more than $11 million in energy cost savings. Exemplifying this, Utah’s DFCM introduced an innovative approach to building envelope design on all new buildings that allow the mechanical systems to be downsized, along with significant reduction in ongoing utility costs and associated emissions.

Emphasizing the long-term savings, DFCM’s energy development director John Burningham wrote in the division’s recent newsletter (Second Quarter 2014): “Over the years DFCM has learned the immense value of having high performing building envelopes. Quality systems that perform as designed provide value to the building and its occupants for decades. Unlike mechanical systems that generally have an expected life of 10 to 20 years, the components of the building envelope generally last the entire life of the building. DFCM has one, if not the, most rigorous envelope programs in the nation to ensure the skin of the building is designed and installed with long term performance in mind.”

Tubelite_UT_USUtrainingCtr7_TysonBybee_webTo support the Center’s energy-efficiency and LEED Silver certification goals, Tubelite’s curtainwall was specified with a fiberglass pressure plate and PPG’s Solarban® low-e glass, achieving a maximum solar heat gain coefficient of (SHGC) 0.34 and U-Factor of 0.39 BTU/hr.sqft.ºF. With the fiberglass pressure plate, the framing system also delivers a high condensation resistance factor (CRF) of 76.

Tubelite’s 400 Series curtainwall with fiberglass pressure plate has a 2.5-inch sightline and the strength of variable-depth back-members from 4 to 7 inches. Minimizing the need for on-site cutting and fabricating, screw holes and weeps are machined at the factory into the off-white, pultruded fiberglass material.

The curtainwall system’s metal back-members and snap-on covers can be extruded by Tubelite using EcoLuminum™, a high recycled-content aluminum billet composition. This also may contribute to obtaining additional credits as outlined by LEED. Enhancing the project’s environmental attributes, longevity and metallic appearance, the aluminum components were finished by Linetec using Class II clear anodize, which contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Anodize process by-products are recyclable and anodized aluminum is 100 percent recyclable. Because anodize is an integral part of the substrate, the coating delivers excellent wear and abrasion resistance with minimal maintenance.

“Student-athletes have been absolutely blown away by how nice this facility is,” stated USU’s Barnes. “What sets the Wayne Estes Center apart is its functionality as both a first-class basketball practice and elite volleyball competition venue. Our men and women’s basketball and volleyball coaches have some of the best office views in the entire valley and the finishes are spectacular.”


Wayne Estes Training Center, Utah State University Athletics, 800 E. and 900 N., Logan, Utah 84321;
Owner: Utah State University; Logan, Utah;
Project manager: State of Utah, Division of Facilities Construction & Management; Salt Lake City;
Architect: VCBO Architecture; Salt Lake City;
General contractor: Okland Construction;
Glazing contractor: Steel Encounters Inc.; Salt Lake City;
Specialty signage – fabricator and installer: Ducworks, Inc.; Logan, Utah
Glazing systems – manufacturer: Tubelite Inc.; Walker, Michigan;
Glazing systems – glass assemblies: PPG Industries; Solarban® 70;
Glazing systems – finisher: Linetec; Wausau, Wisconsin;
Photographers: Larry Ford, Steel Encounters Inc.; and Tyson Bybee, Bybee Photography LLC


Media contact: Heather West,

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