In September 2013, Manatee Technical Institute celebrated its 50th anniversary in a new main campus facility. Featuring railing infill panels woven by Banker Wire, the Bradenton, FL, ‘Main Campus’ is a state-of-the-art facility that is home to post-secondary adult, career and technical education programs.
The heart of the 215,000-square-foot, $44 million Main Campus facility is a two-story multipurpose lobby. The lobby serves daily as a 400-seat dining area, but can be reconfigured as a 700-person reception hall for special events. The space, designed by Fawley|Bryant of Sarasota, FL, includes both metallic fixtures and bright design elements in primary colors. Their interplay produces an aesthetic that is simultaneously sophisticated and playful.
This aesthetic is epitomized by Banker Wire woven wire mesh infill along the main lobby’s staircase and balcony handrail system. Banker Wire’s M13Z-309 mesh is composed of long, straight sections of horizontally oriented wire, woven together with tight groupings of three vertically oriented wires. The sleek, vertical triple wire bands run parallel to royal blue posts positioned every two panels. The posts’ bold color and matte finish contrast with the sleek metal mesh infill to add refinement and vibrancy to the interior.
“We specified Banker Wire because we were looking for an element that would be both elegant and fun,” says Sarah W. Colandro, director of interior design at Fawley|Bryant. “Also, the school has both welding and construction programs, so we were looking for elements that would give the space a technical flavor.”
The craftsmanship of the woven wire mesh exemplifies the school’s commitment to technical expertise. Custom-manufactured Banker Wire woven wire mesh integrates flawlessly into the railing system. Like all Banker Wire mesh, it was manufactured with special attention to repeatability and consistency, which – along with its customization – allowed for efficient fabrication and installation.
“Banker Wire custom-manufactured the infill for our panel frames to size, which made manufacturing less costly,” says Steve Hope, sales and design manager at Seco South II, the manufacturer of the railing system.
Keeping costs reasonable was a concern for the building owners: the School District of Manatee County. Fawley|Bryant specified Banker Wire for the railing knowing that their client’s dollars would be well spent on the beautiful, yet extremely functional, fixture.
“We wanted to spend money on something that everyone at the school would experience. Everyone takes the stairs, and everyone walks across the balcony. The Banker Wire product adds a beautiful detail to those spaces,” says Colandro.
Those using the handrail system include students enrolled in the school’s diverse range of programs – from culinary to welding to web design. According to Colandro, the project team aimed to create a campus that will attract more people to the school, ultimately turning out more skilled laborers to the community. With help from the Banker Wire product, Colandro believes they successfully built the impactful, beautiful space that the project team and their client envisioned.
"We wouldn’t hesitate to use Banker Wire in the future. We’re proud to have been a part of the project. It’s a jewel in our portfolio and a jewel for the school district, as well,” she says.
Manatee Technical Institute has a total of four ‘campuses’ in Florida – Main, East, North and West. MTI provides training for adults in high-wage, high-demand careers. The Institute also offers classes to adults seeking to earn their GED or to learn English, career training and high school completion opportunities for 16 and 17 year olds and continuing education and non-credit enrichment classes for its community’s working population and retirees.
The new Main Campus opened to students in 2013. The project team included architects Fawley|Bryant Sarasota, FL; installer Acousti Engineering Co., Venice, FL; railing manufacturer Seco South II, Largo, FL; and general contractor The Beck Group, Tampa, FL.