Case study: Panels save money, enhance design

Financed in part by proceeds from the movie, "The Spitfire Grill," Sacred Heart Catholic School in Southaven, Miss., is a single-story, 55,000-square-foot structure on 6.7 acres of land surrounded by trees. The school's design is warm and residential, with tilt-up concrete walls painted in earth tones, a pitched roof with composition shingles, and white-framed aluminum doors and windows.

To cut costs and allow for reconfiguring the space should that need ever arise, architect Spencer Armour of Braganza Associates wanted to avoid using concrete block.

Armour decided to use FIBEROCK Abuse-Resistant Panels from USG Corporation. These panels provide the durability required for institutional applications, while reducing construction costs and enhancing design versatility.

Sacred Heart's exterior concrete walls were poured on the slab foundation and tilted into place. The inner walls feature steel stud framing covered with gypsum board drywall and 5/8-inch panels.

"The wall system saved us a great deal of money," says Armour. "I would say the square-foot cost of the room partitions was probably half the cost of building with concrete block. And that's not figuring the extra labor required to build a seismic design."

FIBEROCK products are made from gypsum and cellulose paper fibers. The abuse-resistant panels offer comprehensive strength and durability. The panels are engineered to provide finished walls with increased resistance to abrasion, indentation and puncturing, even in high-traffic areas.

"We selected FIBEROCK panels for their high-abuse characteristics, which were well-suited for areas like the gymnasium, corridors and cafeteria," says Armour.

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