Eye-catching insulated metal panels from Kingspan Insulated Panels—in Redwood, Dove Gray, Regal White and Evergreen—played a critical role in the design and construction of the new Rocketship Nashville Elementary School in Nashville, TN. But good looks were just one of the many benefits the panels brought to the project.
Rocketship Nashville Elementary is a 37,000 sq. ft. charter school run by California-based Rocketship Education. The kindergarten-through-fourth-grade facility opened its doors just in time for the 2014-15 school year. It was built on the site of an old car dealership in the northeastern portion of Tennessee's state capital and has approximately 450 students.
In its contract to build the school, D.F. Chase Construction was presented with an ambitious and unforgiving construction timeline of just 6 months between groundbreaking and move-in. Kingspan’s IMPs were a critically important part of meeting the build speed requirements for this project as they helped get the shell closed in quickly. IMPs are single-component wall systems that provide air/water and vapor barriers, insulation, and high thermal performance. This increases speed of build, minimizes delays and the need for multiple trades. Kingspan offers insulated metal panels in a wide variety of styles and thicknesses. For this project, the design team selected two-inch thick Optimo and 300 R Striated panels.
Wall Brothers Glass was the installer for the Rocketship project. Project manager/estimator James Leverette said the company added wall panels to its repertoire seven years ago. “The lead time is shorter and they are easier to work with,” Leverette said of insulated metal panels, noting Kingspan customer service is top notch. “They are beside you the whole way.”
The Many Benefits of IMPs
IMPs combine impressive R-values with low thermal bridging and superior airtightness. This helps to drastically reduce energy consumption when compared to traditional built-up wall systems. The panels easily lock together, too, forming an airtight and weathertight seal.
Both Optimo and 300 R Striated panels offer an R-value of 7.5 per inch. Optimo comes in panel thicknesses ranging from 2 inches to 4 inches while 300 R Striated comes in panel thicknesses ranging from 2 inches to 6 inches.
Leverette said the three main benefits of specifying Kingspan panels are easy installation, their great R-values, and their ability to help meet qualifications for LEED status.
“It was a great project,” Leverette recalled.
Rocketship Elementary cost $7.8 million to construct, according to news reports, and was funded by Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund. The funding group, which includes former tennis star Andre Agassi, invests in schools around the U.S. and collects rent money from the charter schools with which it partners.
In addition to classroom space, Rocketship Elementary has a cafeteria, learning labs, playgrounds, and basketball courts.
“Natural light plays an important role in the project, and each space has access to exterior windows,” architecture firm Manuel Zeitlin Architects writes on its website. “The site includes three distinct play areas that can double as gardens and outdoor education spaces.”
Brad Kirkland, a regional sales manager with Kingspan, said the insulated metal panels serve as the exterior and interior finishes for the educational facility.
“The panels also allowed for maximum frame spacing so the visibility to the framing from inside the building was minimized,” he said. “The exposed framing on the inside of the building was painted to serve as part of the interior design finish, giving the school … a niche for shelving, and magnets are used to display work and arts and crafts onto the wall panels.”
The popularity of insulated metal panels is gaining traction in the educational construction industry for reasons beyond just performance, Kirkland added.
“Typically we see the IMPs used on schools primarily for R-value and sustainability,” he said. “Lately, the aesthetically pleasing design has seemed to have struck a trend with the educational facilities.”