Chicago Metallic Helps High School Fine Arts Center

Chicago - Relying on design and construction partners with innovative ideas and products, Bradley Central High School in Cleveland, Tenn., opened a new Fine Arts Center within just 12 months. Chicago Metallic® Corporation helped the team meet the project's aesthetic and acoustic goals, while staying on schedule and budget. The creative, collaborative approach to a complex ceiling project earned the project a 2011 Construction Excellence Gold Award from the Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association (CISCA).

As a National School of Excellence, Bradley Central High School's Fine Arts Center was held to the highest standards. Designed by KBJM Architects, TRI-CON was the general contractor for the Tennessee-based team. As the installing contractor, Wallace Tile worked closely with Chicago Metallic, to meet the project's fast-paced deadline and design goals.

"Our goal was to create a little gem for the high school campus. We wanted this to be a showpiece, with lots of natural light and upgraded finishes," notes Angie Lyon, project architect with KBJM Architects. "I didn't want a traditional flat ceiling. My vision was for a feeling of movement, something that would draw the eye. CurvGrid is fluid and dynamic."

Chicago Metallic's CurvGrid(TM) Two-Directional Aluminum Suspension System was provided with flexible metal panels finished in "Morning Dew," a soft, metallic gold color, which complements the Fine Arts Center's interior palette of warm golds and yellows. Helping create the Center's floating ceiling sections housing acoustic panels, Wallace Tile installed Chicago Metallic's 1200 Seismic Suspension System. These sections have a stepped perimeter for visual effect and Infinity(TM) Perimeter Trim for a crisp, clean look.

"We had a very tight frame for completing this project," notes Cason Conn, project manager for general contractor TRI-CON. "We had to condense the schedule and that meant the auditorium seats needed to be installed prior to the ceiling system going in. As a result, scaffolding could not be erected for the ceiling installation. That presented quite a challenge for Wallace Tile."

Wallace Tile's vice president, Seth Bussey, worked with Chicago Metallic's district sales manager, Carlo Grohovac, to develop an alternate installation plan. Their solution was to assemble the CurvGrid sections on the ground, connect them into pods, hoist the pods to the ceiling area using a lift, and then connect them in the air. In all, five 8-by-25-foot pods were assembled and installed.

"Once we got the idea of how the puzzle went together, it was very easy to install," says Bussey. "We got faster all the time. The system is very user-friendly, and Chicago Metallic did a great job in helping us work this out."

Grohovac elaborates, "The innovative assembly process, and CurvGrid's combination of rigidity and light weight, made this possible. An installation like this would be virtually impossible to accomplish with any other curved ceiling systems. CurvGrid's system incorporates a primary carrier, which is essentially a spine that runs along the back of the panel assembly. It ties the suspension components together creating a stronger system that is lifted into place and attached by suspension wires. This carrier also requires fewer wires, which enhances the floating cloud effect of the ceiling."

Grohovac adds, "Everyone was pleased with the results. The ceiling's beautifully curved clouds seem to float and dance in a performance of their own."

The 25,000 square-foot Fine Arts Center houses a 600-seat auditorium with new lighting and sound systems, dressing rooms, separate band and choral rooms and classrooms, plus a lobby and gathering space. The $3.3 million project was completed within 12 months, per the school district's direction. In spite of the accelerated timeline, Bradley Central High School celebrated the Center's grand opening on schedule with a baccalaureate service for the class of 2011's graduating seniors.

In addition to receiving the school district's applause, the project earned a Gold Award in the 2011 CISCA Construction Excellence Awards. These prestigious awards recognize CISCA members who produced the year's finest examples of interior commercial construction. Chicago Metallic Corporation accepted the award on April 18, 2012 at the CISCA Annual Convention and INTEX Expo in Charlotte, N.C. Bradley Central High School's Fine Arts Center was honored in the Ceilings Category for East Region.

Bradley Central High School, Fine Arts Center, Cleveland, Tenn.

  • Owner: Bradley County Schools; Cleveland, Tenn.

  • Architect: KBJM Architects, Inc.; Mount Juliet, Tenn.

  • General contractor: TRI-CON, Inc.; Cleveland, Tenn.

  • Installing contractor: Wallace Tile, Inc.; Chattanooga, Tenn.

  • Ceiling system manufacturer: Chicago Metallic Corporation; Chicago

    About Chicago Metallic Corporation

    Chicago Metallic Corporation is a global provider of architectural building products and services, including metal panels and ceiling systems, suspended grid systems, and acoustical and sustainable ceiling panels. Its manufacturing facilities and distribution channels are located throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Building on a legacy that began in 1893, the people at Chicago Metallic Corporation create enduring relationships and quality products that stand the test of time. With pride in craftsmanship, commitment to customers, and an eye on the future, the company continues to benefit from a culture where people are valued above all else. Learn more by visiting

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