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CENTRIA’s colorful Formawall envelope system creates unique aesthetic for Illinois high school

January 21, 2022

The addition at McHenry West High School in McHenry, Ill., became necessary with the consolidation of 10th through 12th graders at the west campus. The new area would focus on “science, technology and industry offering college and career-oriented pathways.”

CENTRIA’s Formawall Dimension Series building envelope system, in five colors, helped create a unique aesthetic for the addition.

“Two significant initiatives prompted the district’s vision for the addition,” says Jonathon Kuzynowski, project manager at Wold Architects & Engineers, a national leader in educational architecture. “The first was to create diverse opportunities for all students to find their passion and determine their trajectory after high school. Through uncovering the educational synergy between science, math and industry technologies, students can gain exposure to a wide range of potential career pathways. The second initiative was to consolidate 10th through 12th grade levels to a single campus and establish a freshman campus so equitable learning experiences could be offered to all students between the two existing schools.

“We shared the district’s goal of providing a facility that encourages exploration by supporting innovative program offerings and through intentional transparency into learning environments so students can participate in project-based and hands-on activities to pique their curiosities. The goal of the exterior design was to create architecture that embodies innovation and technology, emulating attributes that are core to the district’s curriculum and the learning environments inside.”

Metalworks of Chicago of Arlington Heights, Ill., installed just more than 18,200 square feet of CENTRIA’s Formawall Dimension Series building envelope system as part of the McHenry West High School three-story, 64,000-square-foot renovation and addition.

“There were a lot of modules, in eight different sizes, so it was a little like putting a puzzle together,” says Arthur Jazowski, Project Manager for Metalworks of Chicago. “There were five different colors, but it was shipped to us in such a way that the panels were numbered and stacked by elevation, so it was a lot easier to install panels in the correct order.”

The specified smooth Formawall modules were three inches thick with 22-gauge exterior metal panels and a PVDF Duragard® finish. Modules came in five colors: Chromium Gray (11,885 square feet with 10 horizontal and two vertical modules); Dove Gray (1,280 square feet with eight horizontal and two vertical modules); Midnight Bronze (3,900 square feet with three horizontal and three vertical modules); custom Special Orange (800 square feet with two modules); and custom Forceful Orange (250 square feet with two modules).

Jazowski said the only real obstacle facing the project was getting materials during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It all turned out great, thanks to the combined efforts of the project superintendent and the field manager,” he says. “If there were any questions, they reached out to me, and we got things figured out. I think everyone is happy with how it turned out. We definitely had longer than usual lead times, but that’s just the way things have gone during COVID.”

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