Grand Rapids Press

Metl-Span Panels Headline New Newspaper Production Facility

Advance Publications selected a greenfield site for the new home of its Grand Rapids (Michigan) Press.  Replacing an aging downtown facility, the new plant utilizes 90,000 sq. ft. of Metl-Span’s CF24A polyurethane foam insulated panels installed in a horizontal configuration.  Finished in Pueblo Tan, the panels provide a crisp, clean appearance for the state-of-the-art facility.

The architectural firm on the project was Dario Designs Inc., Framingham, MA, specialists in the design of newspaper and printing facilities.  According to Dario DiMare, “The newspaper is integral to Grand Rapids and the design needed to reflect its history and heritage. Thus the ‘river waves’ along the top of the building became the core design element.  Shadows move the waves hour by hour, season to season to provide a dynamic appearance to passersby on the nearby highway.”

Design aesthetics were important but practical considerations were equally critical.  “We needed a good looking exterior material that wasn’t expensive,” says DiMare.  “The Metl-Span panels were selected because of their contemporary appearance, light weight, low maintenance and good insulation values.”

Installation of the Metl-Span panels and other exterior cladding systems was handled by Architectural Glass & Metals, Inc., Byron Center, MI.  “We established a good dialog with the architectural team and ownership group,” says Dave Sheasley of AGM, “and that allowed us to contribute our expertise during the design development stages of the project.”

“The Metl-Span panels were chosen because they represented the best value to accomplish aesthetic and performance related criteria.  The versatility of Metl-Span to be installed horizontally, to provide fabricated corners, to span greater distances across structural framing rather than metal stud infill became key factors in specifying Metl-Span,” according to Sheasley.

After the job was underway, another important Metl-Span attribute—accuracy in fabrication—became apparent.  The “wave” system design element at the top of the building was engineered to be supported by steel plates that projected out between the Metl-Span panel joints with only 1/8th inch tolerance.  “It was critical that the panels be manufactured to exact lengths so that the anchor plates would extend between the joints as designed.  Metl-Span delivered,” says Sheasley.

The general contractor on the project was The Christman Company, Grand Rapids, MI.

Metl-Span pioneered many of the developments of insulated metal panels and continues to make significant contributions to design innovations and technology that have become industry standards.  For more information on the complete line of Metl-Span products, call 877-585-9969 or visit