Matilda Torres High School

Matilda Torres High School

Matilda Torres High School—the third comprehensive high school in the Madera Unified School District (MUSD)—broke ground in April 2018. According to an MUSD press release, Matilda Torres was designed to be the “first fully-integrated educational complex in the community,” housing facilities that support a student body of 2,200 with career technical education, athletics, the arts, health services and beyond.

Giroux Glass was hired by general contractor, Harris Construction, to provide a number of interior and exterior glazing services across the 55-acre construction site.

Our Scope of Work:

Our scope spanned ten buildings on the 55-acre construction site, and included the following:

  • 8,000 sq. ft. of 10” x 2-1/2” and 7” x 2-1/2” curtain wall systems
  • 27,200 sq. ft. of 2” x 4-1/2” front-set and center-set storefront systems, installed at interior and exterior openings
  • Over 400 individual window and sunshade systems, fit to the unique dimensions of each opening: (10” x 3” aluminum break metal trim on numerous exterior windows, creating a “pop-out” sunshade appearance on all four sides of the windows)
  • Multiple 3’ deep horizontal sunshades that attached to both storefront and curtain wall systems
  • Fire-rated glass, fire rated storefront frames and fire-rated doors by Safety First
  • Fire-rated pass-through windows by Fyre Tech
  • Aluminum pass-through windows by C.R. Laurence
  • 4,800 sq. ft. of translucent wall panel systems and skylights by KalWall
  • 4,000 sq. ft. of polycarbonate canopies by CPI Daylighting
  • 133 Oldcastle Storefront Door Leafs

All exterior glass was 1”insulated tempered glass with with SN-64 Low E coating. The majority of interior glass was ¼” clear tempered glass. All aluminum framing systems and storefront doors were furnished by Old Castle Building Envelope. We used all rugged, wide stile storefront doors, many of which were outfitted with LCN automatic operators.

Challenges and Solutions:

Deferred Approvals

The majority of challenges on this project were the result of deferred shop drawing approvals. Schools – especially public schools funded by the state – are required to meet very strict building code standards, prompting rigorous review of plans, materials, and installation methods. This is already a time-consuming (albeit necessary) piece of the construction process, but a recent change in protocol has caused approvals to take longer than they did previously.

Our glazing materials included several frames that were over 10” high, a height that always requires special approval, and usually, a few rounds of revisions. In the past, we could get the plans for these larger frames assessed and approved separately from those involving standard-sized windows. Now, however, the Division of State Architects is required to assess plans for the entire project along with every revision. This ends up being a much more time-consuming process, and in our case, it significantly delayed our planned installation schedule. As a result, we had to devise and recommend innovative solutions to move forward with certain parts of the installation while the frames awaited approval.

To make sure these delays didn’t completely derail our schedule, we had to find other ways to advance our project while waiting for approval on the window design. For example, our team made the call to rearrange the standard window frame assembly and installation sequence so as not to hold up other trades. Ordinarily, a weatherproofing material known as ETA Silicone Transition Material attaches to an aluminum fitting that’s been fastened to the window frame. Once assembled, the entire frame system is installed into the window openings of the building in one piece. However, because the frames took so long to get approved, we decided to apply the ETA material directly to the perimeter of the window openings on the building. Once the window plans/aluminum attachments were approved, we built them out, and then installed them to align with the ETA materials that were already attached to the window openings. It was an unconventional approach, but it worked.

Sunshade Installations

Installation of the horizontal and vertical sunshades and brake metal (pop-out sunshades) at the windows was rather labor intensive, due to both the sheer number — i.e. hundreds! — we needed to install and to their design. The shades, which protrude two feet out from the wall surface over nearly every storefront window, were separate from the storefront frames, and required extra care to measure, fabricate and install in their proper position. Repeating this process for each storefront window for each of the ten buildings took a lot of time. Our team, however, was highly efficient, and completed the work on time.

Material Deliveries

Material deliveries for Matilda Torres were somewhat complex due to a few different circumstances. First, the sheer volume of aluminum required for this project resulted in longer lead times. When our team was initially bidding on the project, we were not sure which of the campus facilities we would be working on.  We requested price and scheduling delivery quotes from aluminum manufacturers based on the individual buildings. Fortunately, we ended up winning the contract for the entire campus, which was great for our business. It was, however, more challenging for the manufacturer, as they received a much larger order than the one which they had initially quoted. Understandably, it took them more time to source and deliver this increased amount than it would have taken for a smaller project.

Obtaining the correct measurements for the storefront, pop-out sunshade systems, and various other window openings also affected our material deliveries. While each window unit is designed to be uniform, the reality of the construction process – where multiple trades make subtle changes to plans when performing their work – left small discrepancies between the plans and the actual measurements of each opening. This became apparent by the time our glaziers began their work. To ensure each four-piece window and sunshade system was fit to the exact dimensions of each opening, we had to measure each of the 400+ window openings individually on-site before finalizing our material order.

We encountered another material challenge with the doors and the door hardware. Due to their complex design, the doors and door hardware took longer to procure than more standard options. Fortunately, our team ordered these materials well in advance to account for the extra lead times.

Despite the many challenges involved with this project, project manager, John Smith, led his team to complete it all to Giroux Glass’ high standards. John credits field superintendent, Juan Martinez for keeping the team on track despite a number of unforeseen issues. “It was a complicated installation that required a lot of coordination – especially with all that brake metal. Juan’s timely communication with the contractor and their field superintendent, and his ability to coordinate with all the other contractors on-site, helped us to deal with all of the challenges that we met.”