As the blueprint for future schools in the district, the Mill Creek project presented a unique opportunity to create a model.
Located just south of Nashville, Williamson County is an upscale, vibrant, and growing area known for its high-performing schools. With enrollment soaring in recent years and projected to increase over the next five years, the Williamson County School District was in desperate need of additional facilities to accommodate its burgeoning student population. The district purchased a 100-acre property in the rapidly developing town of Nolensville, TN, where it constructed a $73-million K-12 complex that is home to three new schools: Mill Creek Elementary, Mill Creek Middle, and Nolensville High.
Designed as a K-8 prototype for Williamson County Schools, the Mill Creek campus is a combined elementary and middle school with a number of shared spaces intended to foster collaboration among students. As the blueprint for future schools in the district, the Mill Creek project presented a unique opportunity to create a model of educational innovation and excellence. Architectural firm Goodwyn Mills Cawood (GMC), embraced the challenge to design an outstanding facility that provided a safe, healthy, and engaging learning environment for the Nolensville community.
To help meet the design goals from an acoustic perspective, the architects partnered with CertainTeed Ceilings district sales manager Paul Hotovec. He worked closely with GMC and acoustical contractor Acousti Engineering, Nashville, to win the business and trust of both companies, helping them to specify, purchase, and install products that would maximize the facility’s value, performance, and visual appeal.
Leveraging the breadth of the CertainTeed Ceilings product line, Hotovec recommended a strategic combination of all-purpose and high-performance acoustic ceiling panels that would best meet the varying acoustical needs throughout the educational space. As much as 60% of classroom activities revolve around spoken communication and listening, making acoustical performance a top priority. Without good acoustics, listening and learning become a challenge, and teachers and students suffer.
Today’s well-designed classrooms benefit from advanced acoustical solutions that provide better speech perception, greater speaker comfort, and less noise, enabling teachers to be heard without raising their voices and students to become active, engaged listeners.
In order to create a healthy and comfortable learning environment at the Mill Creek campus, the architects requested products that meet LEED for Schools engineering and environmental design criteria, which requires a noise reduction coefficient (NRC) of .70 or higher in order to minimize noise and control reverberation. Balancing acoustic performance with a consistent visual aesthetic was key in meeting the firm’s design goals.
Using CertainTeed’s solutions-oriented product portfolio, Hotovec assisted the team in finding the right acoustic solution for each space, keeping in mind performance and design criteria while staying within budget. From all-purpose acoustic panels to high-performance panels, CertainTeed Ceilings provided GMC with a combination of performance, aesthetics, and cost control—without compromising on design:
• In the classrooms, offices, and conference rooms, GMC specified CertainTeed’s Fine Fissured High NRC, a mineral ceiling panel offering high sound absorption and a choice for budgeted projects.
• For sound absorption and acoustic comfort in the media center, cafeteria, and open areas, the architects chose CertainTeed’s Symphony F, featuring a fiberglass substrate that provides an NRC of .95.
• The auditorium and music room required a solution that would contain sound while decreasing reverberation and echo. A composite panel offering acoustic performance, CertainTeed’s Adagio, fit the bill due to its sound absorption and containment.
Over at Nolensville High School, designed by Johnson and Bailey Architects, Hotovek partnered with KenCo Distributors, Nashville, and their acoustical contractor, The Workman Co. As a result of this team effort, CertainTeed’s Fine Fissured panels were installed throughout most of the high school, while Symphony F, was the material of choice for the school’s open areas that required a higher level of acoustic performance.
Hotovec’s close collaboration with the architects, acoustical contractors, and distributors helped to make everyone’s job easier while ensuring each project’s success. “Working with CertainTeed was a great experience,” said Brett Haig, branch manager for Acousti Engineering. “Paul worked with us to get us the solutions we needed, and from there it was a team effort. The ceilings tied in well with the design, and the installation went great. It was a real success.”