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Dannelly Composite Operations and Training Facility’s Auditorium

Seay-Seay & Litchfield Architects

Shared By

Heather Westweaetxdyvaydzcwq, Heather West Public Relations

Project Name

Dannelly Composite Operations and Training Facility’s Auditorium


4445 Selma Highway


Project Status


Year Completed



1,800 sq. feet


Alabama Army and Air National Guard

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Project Description

Alabama Army and Air National Guard’s new auditorium at the Dannelly Composite Operations and Training Facility features Chicago Metallic® Corporation’s SpanAir™ Torsion Spring Panels for durable, acoustic performance and sophisticated style at a better-than-expected value. The 1,800-square-foot auditorium is part of a $1.9 million project expanding upon the existing operations facility. The addition complements the established high-quality, high-performance building materials using Chicago Metallic’s Infinity™ Perimeter Trim and a custom WoodScenes® walnut painted finish.

Located in Selma, Alabama where it is supported by the Montgomery Regional Airport, Dannelly Field has been home to the 187th Fighter Wing since 1953 and hosts a squadron of F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft. Recent, world-changing deployments include the 187th Fighter Wing’s participation in combat air patrol missions on Sept. 11, 2001 through 2002. In 2003, it was the lead unit in largest integration of coalition Air and Special Forces Operations in history, comprising the 410th Air Expeditionary Wing mission whose mission was to prevent Iraqi missile launches against coalition forces and neighboring countries. The 187th continues to be recognized as a leader in safety and mission preparedness.

With a discernible amount of pride in his work and in his country, Chicago Metallic’s district manager Carlo Grohovac notes, “This is a very special facility where they brief the team before they are sent out for special operations. They’re reviewing tactical maneuvers and establishing how they go into battle. It’s essential that the personnel in the room hear clearly and correctly the important information being communicated.”

A full year before the new auditorium was completed in August 2012, Grohovac began collaborating with Dannelly project team to recommend ceiling system solutions. Seay-Seay & Litchfield Architects and installing contractor E&E Acoustical and Drywall, Inc. were involved with the 2007 construction of the 45,000-square-foot, $10.2 million Dannelly Composite Operations and Training Facility. Starting in October 2011 on the expansion and build out, they teamed with general contractor Bear Brothers, Inc. with which they had worked on previous projects.

Grohovac learned that when the training facility’s auditorium was not in use, utilities were optimized for efficiency. “Given the special nature of the facility, it’s not in use every day. They shut down the HVAC when they didn’t need it. The air base is located just south of Montgomery, which means it is incredibly humid. Originally, the project was specified with wood veneer and a composite substrate, and it was priced accordingly. Can you imagine how much moisture a system like this would absorb? Like a full sponge, eventually you would see the bowing, deflection and possible mold growth.”

CMC_AL_Auditorium_Detail03webUnderstanding that a metal ceiling system would perform better for a longer lifespan under these conditions, the next question was an aesthetic one. Chicago Metallic recommended a metal ceiling painted with its WoodScenes finish. Grohovac remembers, “They like the cost savings that the WoodScenes provided at nearly 30% less than their original estimate for a wood and composite substrate. But they weren’t certain they liked the standard colors for metal ceilings. When they saw the deep, burgundy tone that was possible with our SpanAir panels and custom WoodScenes painted finishes, their decision was made.”
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