DEARBORN, Mich. - When the University of Michigan satellite campus here welcomes students back, there will be a distinctive addition in the new arts and science building

U-M's new $32 million College of Arts, Sciences and Letters building.
DEARBORN, Mich. - When the University of Michigan satellite campus here welcomes students back this month after a summer hiatus, there will be a welcome and distinctive addition in the new arts and science building.

The $32 million College of Arts, Sciences and Letters building is a vast expanse (167,000-sq.-ft.) of glass and stainless steel, much of the latter done by SMACNA member Custom Architectural Sheetmetal Specialists (CASS) of Detroit.

The 4-story central rotunda is light and airy, with a crisp, clean modern look when viewed either inside or out. A tight construction schedule ensured that students would be able to use the building as soon as classes started up again for the fall semester. "We paid $6,000 for snow removal to keep the project on track through the winter," said CASS owner Glenn Parvin. The exterior consists of over 65,000-sq.-ft. of Architex's finished 24 gauge stainless steel custom fabricated wall and roof panels. CASS fabricated and installed over 8,000 individual flat seam wall panels of various sizes.

The roof system was manufactured by Overly and included more than 27,000-sq.-ft. of custom tapered roof panels installed on a serpentine shaped classroom wing. All gutters on the project were 18 ga. stainless steel with welded seams. Over 80,000 lbs. of stainless were used on this project.

By definition stainless steels contain at least 12% chromium, with a thin corrosion-resistant film on its surface. This ensures that it retains its original appearance without discoloration and without a protective coating.

It was the last job at CASS for retiring project foreman Eugene Lovasz, who reluctantly retired after serving 44 years as a union sheet metal craftsman. With the project only 60% complete, it was time new leadership tested themselves, said Parvin. The project was brought to successful completion with much teamwork on the part of CASS' younger personnel. Keith Klos, project foreman, ran the balance of the interior and exterior wall panels as well as the welded gutters, while Jeff Sanders oversaw the complexities of installing the tapered serpentine roof panels. Chet Klos, Parvin's partner in the business, and Greg Gietek were also instrumental in its completion.

"We had virtually zero on our punchlist," Parvin said, referring to a final series of checks for defects or incomplete work by the university before the project could be turned over.

CASS purchased a Roper Whitney 2000 Autobrake to help speed completion of the job. "We had one of their machines already but felt this job was big enough that we didn't want to tie up our existing machine too much," Parvin said.

Miller Electric portable welding equipment was used to weld the gutters.

General contractor is J.M. Olson; the architect is Smith Group Inc. The mechanical contractor is Great Lakes, also a SMACNA member.

CASS has been selected for a number of high profile jobs in this community, the hometown of Ford Motor Co., including an expansion and renovation of the existing civic center over the summer. The building now houses a health club, swimming pools and a rock climbing wall.