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Discovery Park of America, Union City, Tenn.

Discovery Park of America has two main areas, the Grand Hall and South Hall, and includes 60,000 square feet of exhibit space.

Discovery Park of America has two main areas, the Grand Hall and South Hall, and includes 60,000 square feet of exhibit space. The roofs of both halls feature a curved design and are clad with approximately 33,000 square feet of Petersen Aluminum Corp.'s PAC-CLAD 0.032 Silver Metallic Tite-Loc and Snap-On Standing Seam Panels. Ralph Jones Sheet Metal Inc. curved all the panels on-site and installed 11,000 square feet of PAC-CLAD Flat Stock in Silver Metallic and Bone White for soffits, flashings and detailing.

Gordon Jones, president and project manager at Ralph Jones Sheet Metal, says Discovery Park of America is one of the more complex projects his company completed in its 35-year history. "On the Grand Hall, the deck slopes in three different directions-almost like a football shape," he says. "There are about 400 panels on the roof and no two are exactly alike. Every one of them is custom."

Louis Sirianni, principal at design firm Verner Johnson Inc., says the design concept started with the idea of expressive, curving roof forms. "We wanted the building to be futuristic and uplifting and exuberant-that was a big part of the way the building was to be expressed," he says.

Sirianni says Robert Kirkland, owner, liked the idea of the curving forms and the metal standing seam roof was an obvious choice for budgetary reasons. "We created a pretty good looking building with some pretty exciting spaces for $300 per square foot," he says. "I had to pull out all of the stops on every trick I knew."

The forms on the project were not standard, but the material and the application was straightforward, Sirianni says. "I like the texture and the rhythm and the shiny, metallic appearance. So whenever I get a chance to use it, I do."

The project's three-story atrium anchored by a 120-foot-tall, spaceship-style tower, is clad in 105,525 square feet of Alcoa Architectural Products' Reynobond aluminum composite material (ACM). Ralph Jones Sheet Metal installed 94,200 square feet of 4-mm Reynobond ACM with a polyethylene (PE) core; 7,500 square feet of 4-mm Reynobond ACM with a fire-resistant (FR) core; and 3,825 square feet of 4-mm Reynobond Natural Brushed Aluminum with a PE core. The panels were finished with Pure White Colorweld 500 and Bright Silver Metallic Colorweld 500XL.

Reynobond composite materials installed with a dry seal system were used for the soffits, façade, entry and coping on the exterior of the 100,000-square-foot structure. Gutters, downspouts and coping cap were fabricated with Alcoa Architectural Products' Reynolux flat sheet finished to match the ACM panels. Additionally, Reynobond material was used on the escalator and balcony covers and the interior trim pieces.

The centerpiece of the 50-acre Discovery Park of America is the 100,000-square-foot Discovery Center and its nine exhibit areas: Energy, Children's Exploration, Enlightenment, Military, Native Americans, Natural History, Regional History, Science/ Space/Technology and Transportation. Signature exhibits include an earthquake simulator, interactive starship and a giant, climb-through human body. An amphitheater, train depot with steam engines, log cabins, one-room schoolhouse, 1800s church, gardens, walkways and water features are also part of Discovery Park of America.

The $100 million Discovery Park of America, located in a small town in a rural area, was primarily financed by the Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation. Robert Kirkland, a Union City native, retired businessman and investor, says the project fulfilled a personal vision, and it was his goal to build a permanent venue to enhance education for children and adults in an entertaining way. "This area was a wonderful place to grow up," he says. "My family's focus on education and hard work provided the foundation for my success."

Architect: Verner Johnson Inc., Boston

Fabricator/installer: Ralph Jones Sheet Metal Inc., Arlington, Tenn.

Metal composite material: Alcoa Architectural Products, Norcross, Ga.,

Metal roof panels: Petersen Aluminum Corp., Elk Grove Village, Ill.,