Before the approaching winter, it was essential that Salem State University (SSU), in Salem, Mass., enclose its new fitness and recreation center. To remain on the fast track, critical path of construction, the facility had to be enclosed within eight to 10 weeks. Requiring also that the new facility would be state-of-the-art for energy efficiency. To reach those goals, Kingspan KarrierPanel Barrier Wall System was specified to construct the exterior envelope of the 2-story center, located in the O’Keefe Sports Complex on the university campus.

Dedication ceremonies were held on November 2, 2013, for the Harold E. and Marilyn J. Gassett Fitness and Recreation Center. The facility, located on the campus of SSU, added 40,000 square feet of space to the O'Keefe Sports Complex, and now provides top tier exercise equipment, locker rooms, studios, and two recreational basketball/volleyball courts for 10,000 students, faculty, and staff.

The project architect firm, DiMella Shaffer of Boston, Mass., took a rather plain structure. Kingspan products, made it quite elegant. The architect’s vision included insulated metal panels (IMPs) produced with a textured surface in custom colors developed from the PPG color pallet. The company took those specifications and used Optimo Smooth panels in Sterling Silver with a polyiso core, as well as Urban Gold soffits. The product was specified for the company’s ability to excel with a quick turnaround on information requests, given by DiMella Shaffer, and engineers available for support.

Sunrise Erectors, based in Canton, Mass., performed the installation. “What that adds to the construction process you can only imagine,” said John Erickson, project manager for Sunrise Erectors. “KarrierPanel provided a waterproof vapor barrier wall structure and insulation in a single-piece application.”

Erickson also noted that using other building systems would require paint, sheetrock, metal stud constructions, a separate vapor barrier, insulation, and so much more.

“[The product] was a good fit because we didn’t need so many products,” said Erickson. “By using this system, the thermal performance of the Gasset Fitness and Recreation Center is substantially better when compared to other available wall assembly systems. The addition of the Morin panel as the exterior façade provided us with the aesthetic look desired for this project.”


The Beauty of the Components

The main challenge facing all design teams is to reduce construction time. When a structure needs to become fully operational in a short time period, the team must create a critical path that will quickly enclose the building envelope. When that critical path was discovered through KarrierPanel, the design team gained peace of mind that the construction time constraints would be met.

One final and decisive factor for specifying KarrierPanel by Kingspan for the SSU Gassett Fitness and Recreation Center is that these IMP wall elements last as long as the service life of a standard commercial building and offer multiple end-of-life reuse options.

These products from Kingspan are now recognized as one of the best enclosure options available today. In the future, they will be increasingly specified as cladding for commercial buildings.

Visit for more information.