Students at Asnuntuck Community College will have their career opportunities expanded through the creation of a new facility for the school’s Precision Manufacturing curriculum, which teaches them to use high-tech equipment in manufacturing positions. To emphasize the manufactured nature of the building and meet a tight timeline, insulated architectural precast concrete panels are being used to clad the building.
When completed in 2017, the building will house the school’s machining, welding, and other disciplines, including Additive Manufacturing, in which alloys are broken down into powders and recombined into objects using 3D printers. The building required special foundations to support the loads of the new equipment.
The exterior of the one-story, warehouse-sized building will be clad with 20,105 square feet of pre-insulated architectural panels with preinstalled granite water tables, sills, embedments for canopy and sunshade attachments and recessed areas to support anodized aluminum panels. The components will be cast in July, with erection to take place in October.
“The speed of construction that precast concrete panels would provide was one of the key reasons they were specified,” says Ken Pilon, principal at Moser Pilon Nelson Architects Inc., the architect on the project. “Their program is expanding rapidly, so they wanted to have the building completed as soon as possible.” The program provides technically advanced manufacturing engineers for employers throughout the region, and the program has become more critical to the state’s tech industry.
The panels also will provide the “high-tech look” that the school wants to project for the center. “They need a dramatic look to make a statement about the school’s program,” Pilon says. The facility is located at a strategic location on the campus aligned with the existing manufacturing center. “The administrators want to develop a manufacturing-focused campus, and they want a building that projects a strong image.”
The panels feature 3 inches of polyisocyanurate ISOGlass insulation, a system developed by Thermomass, which is sandwiched between two wythes of concrete. The panels will be erected in a vertical position, running from foundation to roof to form a parapet, with a typical size of 12 feet wide and 27 feet tall.
“The panels go up fast and extend from the ground floor to the roof in one panel,” Pilon says. “These panels were the quickest way to erect the building. They made sense.” The building’s steel frame will be installed first followed by the roof, to protect the building, from weather, after which the panels will be erected. Once the building is enclosed, installation of the intricate machinery will begin inside.
The panels’ finish is designed to mimic the look of limestone, with joints and additional reveals creating an articulated look that replicated a stone-block appearance.
The insulated panels will help meet the state’s criteria for high-performance buildings, which is similar to a LEED Silver rating.