During the late 1990s, a changed mission and substantial growth at the Helena Aviation Readiness Center, required a renovation and addition of the relatively new facility. The new Aviation Readiness Center included a 40,000 square-foot overhaul and a 60,000 square-foot addition to what was originally designed as an Attack Battalion Armory. The project included more than eight acres of site improvements and six additional buildings.

Tim Meldrum, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, principal/owner at SMA Architects of Helena, Mont., says larger federally funded military projects are required to meet at least LEED Silver certification. The Helena Aviation Readiness Center achieved Gold status, with some help from the Envelope 2000 composite wall panel from Citadel Architectural Products.

“We are proud to have been part of a military design process that allowed for sophisticated materials and use of color,” Meldrum says. “The Department of Military Affairs was supportive and even excited to challenge traditional military design. It’s a project that got to be a showcase for both the military and SMA.”

Citadel’s Envelope 2000 composite panel consists of two aluminum skins, bonded to a thermoset phenolic resin core. Standard sizes available include 8-, 10- and 12-foot lengths, in widths of 4 or 5 feet. The life cycle and recyclability of the product helped achieve LEED certification. The colors selected for the Helena Aviation Readiness Center renovation were Statuary Bronze and Spanish Red. The Envelope 2000 panels with the Deep-Reveal attachment system, featuring a 1-5/16-inch depth, were installed by Swank Enterprises of Montana.

“The color selection was driven by the colors of the existing buildings, hangars on site,” Meldrum says. “Ultimately, Citadel was chosen for its look and value.”

The existing facility was constructed in 1995 as an attack battalion armory with a strength of approximately 240, which was increased to more than 400 in the late 1990s. Studies on the renovation started in 2006, the project started in June of 2015 and ultimately completed in August 2017.

“Swank built the original structure in the mid-90s,” says Kevin Forbes, project manager with Swank Enterprises. “Not long after that, the mission changed and the building was pretty much obsolete, but they worked with it for 20 years. We came in and built around the original 40,000-square-foot structure. It’s now 100,000 square-feet. Between that renovation and the five other buildings, it’s the biggest project I’ve been a part of at Swank.

“The exterior façade is masonry veneer and Citadel panels. The building has two different roofing systems with many different lines. In general, the panels are located above the veneer and scattered about the main building. In most cases, we worked above the many different roof elevations which created some challenges during install.”

Swank Enterprises installed 8,230 square-feet of Statuary Bronze along with 7,660 square-feet of the Spanish Red on the main Readiness Center building. Another 2,575 square-feet of Statuary Bronze was installed on a new maintenance garage.

“This project has been a big part of my career and I’m extremely happy to have seen it through,” Meldrum says. “I’ve had multiple roles in this project as my role changed in the firm, starting as a young designer and now as the principal/owner. It’s a very special project for me and it always will be.”