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Flat panels attend school design

Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Metal Design Systems Inc. fabricated ALPOLIC aluminum composite material from Chesapeake, Va.-based Mitsubishi Plastics Composites America Inc.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Metal Design Systems Inc. fabricated ALPOLIC aluminum composite material from Chesapeake, Va.-based Mitsubishi Plastics Composites America Inc. for its rear-ventilated and pressure-equalized rainscreen system at the 278,000-square-foot Jones College Preparatory High School in Chicago.

Chad Showalter, sales manager and lead estimator at Metal Design Systems, says large panels were installed on a west elevation wall. "One of the reasons we chose ALPOLIC materials is that the aluminum composite material by its nature is a very flat form of metal," he says. "It makes for a very flat, smooth surface and finish to the panel."

The east elevation of the high school faces State Street and has extensive glazing, recessed levels fronted by columns and ALPOLIC panels for soffit and fascia-like accents.

Perkins+Will, Chicago, designed the north, west and south elevations with ALPOLIC material to complement the adjacent historic Printer's Row neighborhood. ALPOLIC panels in a custom Silversmith Mica finish were installed and meet precast concrete panels in a color that emulates the redbrick construction of nearby buildings constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Tommy Simpson, project manager at Metal Design Systems, says traditional metallic materials can warp with changing temperatures, especially when the panels are large. "One of the reasons we liked the ALPOLIC composite on this project is that we can make a panel that's quite large and it isn't going to oil can," he says. "It's not going to wrinkle. So we were able to have large panel modules that fit the different conditions for the building, both interior and exterior."

The new high school building was built south of the previous location, a building constructed in the 1960s with an institutional aesthetic that was training space for secretarial and office workers.

Jones College Preparatory High School has seven stories above grade and features classrooms, laboratories, an auditorium, library, gymnasium, cafeteria and full-size swimming pool and underground parking garage. Additionally, the high school has a three-story lobby, open interiors, natural lighting, indoor and outdoor spaces for quiet study and a landscaped roof with a rain collection system.

ALPOLIC by Mitsubishi Plastics Composites America Inc., www.alpolic-americas.com