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DeWitt Family Science Center

New Science Building Serves As College's Grand Entrance

Completed in 2019, the eco-friendly and state-of-the-art DeWitt Family Science Center creates a grand entrance to the campus of Northwestern College in Orange City, IA. The 61,000 sq. ft. facility is clad with metal panels from Quality Metalcrafts, finished in Fluropon® 70% PVDF coil coatings from Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings. The building serves the health science programs at the college, including biology, chemistry and the now-on-campus nursing department that had been previously housed in a nearby hospital.  

Throughout the three-story building are classrooms, research labs, human patient simulators, faculty offices and a 960 square-foot greenhouse. It’s equipped with a DNA sequencer, making Northwestern one of only two institutions in Iowa with the scientific instrument. The facility includes dedicated space for collaborative student-faculty research and provides students of biology, chemistry or nursing with state-of-the-art-facilities to match the exceptional science education and career preparation Northwestern is known for.

Northwestern College utilized CMBA Architects, the Architect of Record, and HGA, acting as Design Architect, to bring the Dewitt Family Science Center to fruition.

When choosing the material used on the exterior, the architects were mindful of the fact most of Northwestern’s buildings are brick. However, the science center was designed to be a modern facility,  setting the tone for Northwestern’s future. In addition to this, the building’s main focal feature is a cantilever, which provides an amazing view of the campus, and called for a low-weight material. Thus, coated metal was chosen.

The building is brought to life with Quality Metalcrafts LLC’s Americlad AC-4000 flat lock panels. The panels are finished in three custom hues of Sherwin-Williams® Coil Coatings’ Fluropon® 70% PVDF coil coating – Expresso, Hedgehog and English Brown. Also used were AC-4000 glaze-in infill panels in Champagne Metallic. The colors were selected to create a cohesive look with the brick tones found in the other buildings on Northwestern’s campus. The panels were wrapped around one another and applied in a randomized pattern to add depth to the long expanses of the façade – which was no easy task.

“A critical and impressive part of what makes the building is the installation of the panels. Local installer, Interstate Mechanical Corp., has excellent craftmanship – we are so pleased to have worked with them on this project,” said Amy Douma, vice president, design principal, HGA.

The custom colors were chosen based on their ability to blend with the color of brick as well as offering a solution that was easy on the budget. In addition, the Fluropon coatings provide outstanding resistance and durability to the different weather conditions of Iowa. The Fluropon finish will uphold its integrity for years to come.

“The building’s color palette is chosen as a nod to the brick buildings on campus, but with a modern approach. The way the finish morphs throughout the day, depending on sunlight, is something we’re able to step back and truly appreciate,” said Douma.

To learn more about Americlad panels from Quality Metalcrafts LLC, click here.

About Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings

Sherwin-Williams-SD-logoSherwin-Williams Coil Coatings delivers a full range of high-performance coatings in polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), silicone-modified polyester (SMP) and polyester formulas, designed to meet the most demanding environmental requirements while providing protection against weathering and pollution. The Coil Coatings Division is part of the Sherwin-Williams Performance Coatings Group, which supplies a broad range of highly-engineered solutions for construction, industrial, packaging and transportation markets in more than 110 countries in the world. Founded in 1866, The Sherwin-Williams Company is a global leader in the manufacture, development, distribution and sale of paints, coatings and related products to professional, industrial, commercial and retail customers. For more information about Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings, visit

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