Tubelite’s Products Add to High-Tech Look and Feel

Walker, Mich. — Berrien Springs School District’s Virtual Learning Academy is taking public education to the next level. The recently opened facility, which offers area students both traditional “on-site” education and online courses, features the latest advances in technology, design and materials, including storefront systems manufactured by Tubelite.

The building’s striking exterior, designed by local architects CARMI Design Group, is the first indication that this school is different from other schools in Southwestern Michigan. “We wanted the building’s form to portray the modern style of learning that occurs within its walls,” said Tony Leininger, president of CARMI Design Group. “Tubelite’s range of products and industry expertise gave us the freedom to execute our design concept in a way that other products could not.”

The resulting design features three distinct spaces, sharp angles and generous uses of glass framed in recycled aluminum by Tubelite’s 14000 and T14650 Series Storefronts. Linetec painted the aluminum in Hartford Green fluoropolymer finish, corresponding with the school’s “Home of the Shamrocks” motto.

Designed for low-rise applications, Tubelite’s 14000 Series Storefront durable, flush-glazed system offers optimal strength and thermal performance. Framing members have 2×4.5-inch profiles. Tubelite’s 14650 Series frame offers the same design, assembly and accessories as the 14000 Series’ 2-inch face, but features a depth of 6.5 inches. The additional 2-inch depth on the interior side of the frame provides greater structural properties and allows taller first floor openings.

Inside the 6,700-square-foot learning facility, the futuristic features continue. Visitors enter the building’s lobby, which houses an interactive cyber café, with vending area, café-style tables and chairs, and lounge seating. The structure’s two “pods” include a conference room with interactive whiteboards, high-resolution projectors, image-capturing equipment and other high-tech components, and a state-of-the-art computer lab. In addition to 60 computers, the lab has three large-format projection screens on different walls to support the concept that the “front” of the room is wherever the instructor is at that moment.

The Virtual Learning Academy’s edgy architecture has garnered positive reviews from district staff and the community, and helped the building become the face of the district. But according to Leininger, the most important feedback has come from the students themselves.

Berrien Springs Technology Director Brandon Waggoner has said that the building’s state-of-the-art feel helped the students learn more effectively by making them feel as if they had arrived someplace special.

The $1.8 million Virtual Learning Academy opened for high school students at the start of the fall semester, September 2010, and is now offers enrollment for middle school students.


Berrien Springs Virtual Academy; One Sylvester Avenue, Berrien Springs, Mich.
* Owner: Berrien Springs Public Schools
* Architect: CARMI Design Group. Inc.; Edwardsburg, Mich.
* General contractor: Shelton Construction; Benton Harbor, Mich.
* Glazing contractor: Midwest Glass & Mirror; Stevensville, Mich.
* Glass fabricator: PPG Industries; Pittsburgh
* Storefront systems: Tubelite Inc.; Grand Rapids, Mich.
* Storefront systems’ finisher: Linetec; Wausau, Wis.

Media contact: Heather West,

High-resolution photos available for download: vertical and horizontal.
Include credit line: photo by Joseph Hilliard, courtesy of Tubelite Inc.

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SVSU Pioneer Hall Achieve Acclaim, LEED

Walker, Mich. — Saginaw Valley State University‘s Pioneer Hall continues to draw praise from students, staff and the surrounding community. Not only was Pioneer Hall the first “green” building on the Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) campus, it was also the first project in the northeastern and mid-Michigan areas to earn Silver certification under the LEED® Green Building Rating System™, thanks in part to curtainwall units manufactured by Tubelite Inc.

Originally built in 1977, Pioneer Hall houses SVSU’s science, engineering and technology colleges. At less than 46,000 square feet, the building was badly in need of additional space to accommodate a growing student body. In late 2005, SVSU officials made the decision to expand and renovate the building.

Led by the architectural firm Wigen, Tincknell Meyer & Associates and general contractor Spence Brothers, the $16 million project began in 2006 and was completed the following year. Pioneer Hall’s 30,000-square -foot addition melded state-of-the-art laboratories, offices and gathering spaces into the building’s existing footprint. The renovation included upgrading materials in both of the building’s two floors and redesigning the layout of the teaching, learning and administrative spaces to take advantage of the natural light provided by the window and curtainwall systems.

Glazing contractor Calvin & Co, Inc. installed Tubelite’s 400 Series curtainwall. Designed for low- and mid-rise applications, the curtainwall’s aluminum framing is manufactured using EcoLuminum™, a high recycled-content aluminum billet composition featuring environmentally-friendly finishes. The system’s recycled content, high-performance glass for optimized energy performance and thermal comfort, regionally manufactured materials, daylight and views, and low-maintenance, clear anodize finish all contributed toward the building’s sustainability goals and LEED Silver certification.

“It [LEED] is definitely the way construction is going. It means we’re all thinking about the environment in the construction process,” Michael Pazdro, SVSU’s project manager, told the Saginaw News.

Recognizing the design and building team’s efforts, Pioneer Hall was honored in the Environmental Category by the Michigan chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America with a 2008 Build Michigan Award.


Pioneer Hall; Saginaw Valley State University; 7400 Bay Road University Center, Saginaw, Mich.
Owner: Saginaw Valley State University; Saginaw, Mich.
Architect: Wigen Tincknell Meyer & Associates; Saginaw, Mich.
General contractor: Spence Brothers; Saginaw, Mich.
Glazing contractor: Calvin & Com., Inc.; Flint, Mich.
Curtainwall system – manufacturer: Tubelite Inc.; Walker, Mich.
Curtainwall system – glass fabricator: PPG Industries; Pittsburgh, Pa.
Curtainwall system – aluminum finisher: Linetec; Wausau, Wis.

Media contact: Heather West,

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Tubelite’s Entrance Systems Featured at Evie Garrett Dennis Campus

Denver Public Schools’ Evie Garrett Dennis Campus is a testament to the power of innovation, environmental responsibility and community support. The first facility in Denver Public Schools to attain Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® for Schools Rating System, it is one of the most efficient school facilities in the State of Colorado. Contributing to this achievement, the E-12 campus features Tubelite Inc.‘s entrance systems manufactured with recycled aluminum and eco-friendly finishes.
Located in the rapidly growing Green Valley Ranch area of northeast Denver, the campus will serve 1,700 students in three separate schools when complete. SOAR K-5 charter elementary school and a second campus of the Denver School of Science & Technology 6-12 charter school opened in September 2010. A third school, Vista Academy, is expected to open in Fall 2011. The campus is named after retired Denver Public Schools (DPS) Superintendent Dr. Evie Garrett Dennis, Denver’s first African-American superintendent.

The 35-acre campus hosts four separate buildings totaling 190,000 square feet. Intentionally designed to resemble a small college campus, the grounds include shared space in a new student union and new regional sports complex. The project’s design goals were created through a collaborative group process comprised of members of the Green Valley River community and led by project architects DLR Group.

Energy efficiency and environmental sustainability were important elements of the Evie Dennis campus‘ $43 million design. Two of the four buildings are classified as net zero-energy facilities. Aiding in this, the complex includes some of the newest technologies that reduce the need for energy and other natural resources.

Contributing to the campus’ sustainability goals and aesthetic appeal are entrance systems from Tubelite. Manufactured using EcoLuminum™, Tubelite’s high recycled-content aluminum billet composition featuring environmentally-friendly finishes. Tubelite formulated EcoLuminum’s standard billet composition to contain a minimum of 80% reclaimed aluminum. EcoLuminum’s recycled billet consumes 95% less energy to produce than that of standard, non-recycled billet.

In addition, Tubelite products using an eco-friendly anodize finish send 90% less waste to landfills than traditional anodizing. Painted finishes also can be specified, applied and controlled in an environmentally-effective manner to minimize, or even eliminate, volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These architectural-grade finishes, applied by Linetec, help minimize maintenance and further protect the entrance systems’ rigorous operation.

Engineered to withstand heavy use in schools, public buildings and other high-traffic areas, Tubelite’s T14000 Storefront and Monumental Wide Stile doors were selected by general contractor Saunders Construction and installed by glazing contractor Metropolitan Glass.

“We’ve worked with Tubelite for many years,” says Jim Lynch of Metropolitan Glass. “The promptness of their deliveries is reliable and important to us and to keeping the projects’ on schedule. The installation of the doors went smoothly and was on time.”

The doors’ durable tie-rod construction, five-inch-wide stiles, up to 10-inch-high bottom rails, and heavy-duty hardware meet the school’s performance requirements. The entrance systems’ sightlines complement the overall, architectural balance.

DLR Group’s design also incorporated extensive daylighting as a key strategy to lower utility costs. Wausau Window and Wall Systems® fixed and projected 2250 Series windows were specified to assist with maximizing natural light, outdoor views, natural ventilation and thermal performance. Additional sustainability features within the complex include geothermal heating and cooling, solar power, water conservation, materials with recycled content, enhanced indoor air quality, and optimized operational and maintenance practices.

Technology was also an important component of the Evie Dennis campus. Each classroom offers an interactive whiteboard, touch-screen TVs are scattered throughout the four main buildings, and computer network and Wi-Fi capabilities encourage campus-wide connectivity.

The campus was funded through a $454 million bond, the largest school construction bond in Colorado history. The project was completed ahead of schedule and approximately $6 million under budget, allowing Denver Public Schools to add another school building to the two schools originally planned. Planning for the complex was done in partnership with Denver-based homebuilder Oakwood Homes and the Foundation for Educational Excellence.

Evie Garrett Dennis Campus, 4800 Telluride Street, Denver, Colo.
* Owner: Denver Public Schools; Denver
* Architect: DLR Group; Denver, Colo.
* Contractor: Saunders Construction; Centennial, Colo.
* Developer: HC Development/Oakwood Homes; Denver
* Glazing contractor: Metropolitan Glass; Denver
* Entrance systems –  manufacturer: Tubelite Inc.; Walker, Mich.
* Entrance systems –  finisher: Linetec; Wausau, Wis.

For a high-resolution images, please see

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