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Sports & Recreation

Paraclete XP SkyVenture LLC, Raeford, N.C.

Located near the Fort Bragg U.S. Army Base, this eye-riveting facility provides a simulated skydiving experience in a wind tunnel environment created by the aerodynamically directed blast of four, 541-horsepower fans.

The facility encloses a 51-foot-high wind tunnel that is more than 16 feet in diameter framed in custom-fabricated structural steel clad with Butler Manufacturing's StyWall, TextureWall and Thermawall pre-insulated wall panel systems above split-faced block that mimic courses of brick. Butler's VSR architectural standing seam metal roof systems complete the enclosure.

The plan subdivides into 10,831 square feet for the flight simulator portion and 7,945 square feet for the administration area.

The clientele are drawn from the thrill-seeking general public, veteran sport jumpers and military personnel with the Green Beret and 82nd Airborne units stationed at the nearby base. Wind speeds inside the tunnel reach 165 mph.

What appears to be one building is actually two structures joined by a pair of walkway bridges. The taller portion houses the tube-like wind tunnel and mechanical apparatus that support it. The wind tunnel/flight chamber is an acrylic cylinder that allows spectators to watch the skydivers.

The complex structural engineering reflects provisions that accommodate the building's geometry, height and flex resistance to potential cracking. Butler Manufacturing engineers worked closely with the architect, Sharpe Architecture, and Construction Systems Inc., a Butler Builder. Of special concern was the individualized fastener scheme for the metal cladding and strength to deal with the loads.

Builder: Construction Systems Inc., Fayetteville, N.C.

Architect: Sharpe Architecture, Wilmington, N.C.

Metal building, roof and wall panels: Butler Manufacturing, Kansas City, Mo.,