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Commodore John Barry Elementary School


The Commodore John Barry Elementary School in West Philadelphia provides a vibrant learning environment for students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. This new four-story school - situated on the site of the original school in a dense urban residential neighborhood - illustrates the successful combination of employing sustainable building practices and community involvement throughout the design process. Playing a key role in the design were Formawall® Dimension Series® panels from CENTRIA.

In additional to educational purposes, the 103,000 sq. ft. school was also designed to serve as a gathering place for community organizations that utilize the space during non-school hours. As such, the final design of the ground floor incorporated easy access to prominent public areas such as the lobby, cafeteria and administrative offices.

Ever-conscious of the impact of rising energy costs and shrinking budgets, the design team created a highly efficient building envelope by using insulated metal panels. The result is a building that is LEED Gold Certified, the second LEED Certified school within the City of Philadelphia, the eighth largest public school district in the country.

The challenges of this particular project included a very aggressive completion schedule; tight working conditions because the school is bounded on all four sides by two-story brick row homes from the early 1900s; and a design that included installing both vertical and horizontal panels in a staggered pattern to give the building its signature look.

CENTRIA’s Formawall Dimension Series successfully met these challenges, as well as the project’s sustainability requirements. Formawall Dimension Series can be installed both vertically and horizontally to bring the architect’s specific vision to life. The vertical panels in Silversmith created the sleek, expansive exterior, while the horizontal panels in Slate Gray provided interesting contrast around the windows.

Formawall Dimension Series only requires one installer. This streamlined approach made it possible to meet the project’s tight deadlines while ensuring high-quality, long-term performance. Formawall Dimension Series also is the only complete metal wall system to provide superior thermal efficiency and total air and moisture control in a single panelized component. What’s more, CENTRIA’s Formawall Dimension Series is Cradle to CradleCM Certified at the Silver Level.

The project architect was Ross, Barney Architects of Chicago, IL. Associate architect was The Sheward Partnership of Philadelphia, PA. The CENTRIA products dealer/installer was Keystone Contractors, Inc. W.B.E. of Pennsauken, NJ. The contractor was Daniel J. Keating Company of Narberth, PA.

CENTRIA products used on the Commodore John Barry Elementary School included:

  • Formawall® Dimension Series® 2” Vertical. Square Feet: 23,987; Color: Silversmith; Finish: Embossed; Coating: Duragard Plus; Gauge: 22/22.

  • Formawall® Dimension Series® 2” Horizontal. Square Feet: 5,116; Color: Slate Gray; Finish: Embossed; Coating: Duragard Plus; Gauge: 22/22.


CENTRIA, a Nucor company, supplies a variety of architetural metal wall and roof systems. For more information, visit

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