September-October 2015 | WINDOWS TO THE FUTURE

Laurel High School - Laurel, Del.WINDOWS TO THE FUTUREWINDOWS TO THE FUTUREBennett Middle School - Fruitland, Md.Bennett Middle School - Fruitland, Md.WINDOWS TO THE FUTURE



Charles Brown Glass Co. takes on two of its biggest jobs to date with Laurel Middle/High School and Bennett Middle School — and earns straight A’s for their work

Written By: Nick Brandi | Photographer: GRANT L. GURSKY

For at least the last year and a half, the craftsmen of Charles Brown Glass in Salisbury have really had their hands full. From the beginning of 2014 until May of this year, the company was working on two of the biggest projects in its 56-year history — concurrently. 

One of them occurred at Laurel Middle/High School, in Laurel, Del. The massive $70 million project involved the ground-up construction of a brand-new 200,000 sq. ft. school building capable of housing and educating the 1,200 students who constitute grades five through twelve (though grade-five students will occupy the building only temporarily). At a cost of $1.7 million, the project is the second largest Charles Brown Glass has ever undertaken.

“This was also one of the most diverse projects we’ve ever taken on,” said CBG project manager Nate Brown of the Becker Morgan-designed building. “We installed an unusually wide range of products at this new school, including aluminum storefront windows and entrances, operable vent windows within storefront frames, aluminum curtainwalls, translucent wall assemblies, fire-rated curtainwalls, reception windows, aluminum-post-supported and hangar-rod canopies, electrified door operators and other, miscellaneous, glass.

Brown said that it required up to six crew members to be onsite constantly for about 11 months straight to bring the job in on time and on budget. He added that the impressive achievement came with a little help from his friends.

“We were lucky enough to be working with [general contractor] Richard Y. Johnson, whose experience and professionalism was on display from start to finish,” Brown said. “Despite all of the various products our firm installed and the overall complexity of the project, everything went fantastic from an installation and coordination standpoint. The finished product speaks for itself, and we’re pleased to report that this massive project was a great success.”

“I can tell you that the students, faculty and administration are very happy with the results of the project and the quality work of Charles Brown Glass,” praised Donn Steele, director of Facilities and Transportation for the Laurel School District. “We have separate wings for the middle school and the high school, which are joined in a central entryway we call Main Street. There’s lots of glass, high ceilings and ambient light — a real ‘wow’ factor for the students. Charles Brown Glass really did an excellent job.”

Though not quite as massive as the Laurel school project, Bennett Middle School was no mean feat. In fact, Brown says the $55 million Whiting-Turner project was equally complicated — requiring much the same hardware and installation work — but in some ways even more taxing than Laurel.

“For me personally, this project took a bit more time in the office than Laurel, but the end result was the same, a great success,” Brown said of the $1.4 million CBG project. “Each project used a different storefront and curtain wall manufacturer. Bennett used EFCO products and Laurel used Kawneer, which kept me on my toes, because tolerances and standard sizes vary between the products. But the ultimate challenge here was coordinating this project and Laurel Middle/High simultaneously. Both projects started for our firm within about two months of each another, so I spent a long time bouncing between Laurel and Fruitland, physically and mentally.”

Brown added that Whiting-Turner’s well-known discipline on the jobsite kept everything running quickly and efficiently.

“Bennett Middle was a wonderful project; Whiting-Turner did an awesome job,” he said.


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