Charlie Kyger, Riddleberger Bros. general manager of the sheet metal department, oversees the application of CertainTeed ToughGard duct liner with Enhanced Surface to sheet metal at the shop's coil line machine. The ductwork is destined for use at James Madison University's new Leeolou Alumni Center and expanded College Center.
HARRISONBURG, VA — Coordinating the complete mechanical work that serves two new facilities being constructed at James Madison University (JMU) — while working with two different engineering firms and two sets of drawings and directions — has been quite a challenge to Riddleberger Bros. Inc. project manager Chuck Cline.

“Having to combine all the instructions and getting everything approved has been a little bit crazy,” he said. “Our job was to assure that the mechanical systems in the interconnected buildings under construction operated seamlessly.”

Riddleberger Bros. Inc. (RBI), a 60-year-old full-service mechanical contracting firm located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, has been closely associated with JMU for a number of years, most recently completing the mechanical work on the 280,000-sq-ft College of Integrated Science and Technology building. Currently, Mt. Crawford, VA-based RBI is putting the finishing touches on the new $3 million, 14,000-sq-ft Leeolou Alumni Center, as well as a 61,000-sq-ft addition to the university’s 46,000-sq-ft College Center.

Since each of the new projects is separately funded, two engineering firms were assigned to the tasks. The first phase of the College Center had been handled by Hankins and Anderson, Inc., Richmond, VA. So it was only natural that they would continue on as engineers for the Phase 2 addition. Decision makers for the Leeolou Alumni Center project, on the other hand, engaged the services of R.G. Vanderwell Engineers, Inc., Boston, MA.

“Both new buildings connect to either side of the existing College Center, each with its own engineer, requiring a great deal of coordination to integrate the different systems,” Cline said. And quiet operation of the system was of great importance, according to one of the engineers who designed the system.

When it is fully complete, the two-story Alumni Center will include a multi-purpose great room with a bluestone fireplace, display space for revolving exhibits of Madison memorabilia, and an adjoining terrace. Two of the great room’s exterior walls and one of the interior walls will be made primarily of glass, giving visitors a spectacular view over the rolling hills and meadows surrounding the 15,000-student campus.

The expanded College Center provides plenty of additional room for the multi-purpose facility that provides dining, University Information services, meeting spaces, an entertainment stage, and an outdoor amphitheater.

JMU decided to locate the Leeolou Alumni Center next to the College Center to encourage interaction among alumni and students. “Alumni are in a position to assist students with career mentoring and other programs. By the time our students graduate, they will feel welcome in the Leeolou Alumni Center,” said Hugh Lantz, president of the JMU Alumni Association.

Kevin Shifflett, fabricator with Riddleberger Bros., works with one small section of more than 14,000 sq ft of ToughGard duct liner with Enhance Surface that was chosen for the James Madison University projects because of engineers' concerns about acoustics in the buildings.


When RBI completes its work on the College Center and Leeolou Alumni Center, it will have devoted nearly two years to the projects. Working with general contractor Nielsen Builders, Inc., Harrisonburg, VA, and architect SmithGroup, Reston, VA, they handled all mechanical work, including hvac and plumbing. Overall management of the projects was the responsibility of Thor Sigfusson, project manager for the university.

With acoustics a major concern, designers chose CertainTeed ToughGard™ duct liner with Enhanced Surface in 1- and 2-in. thicknesses for the hvac ductwork. The fiberglass insulation liner, produced with a surface coating with moisture-repellent properties, provides optimum acoustical performance. Its “breathable” coating preserves the sound-dampening performance of the duct liner by allowing sound waves to pass through the open-cell structure and into the sound-absorbing glass fiber mat.

Working in the 31,000-sq-ft RBI shop, fabricators applied more than 14,000 sq ft of the ToughGard liner to the ductwork. According to Charlie Kyger, general manager of RBI’s sheet metal shop, from 10 to 15 people worked on the project on an almost daily basis. Liner was used on the rectangular duct, which averaged 48- by 30-in. in size. In some high-velocity, high-pressure portions of the College Center system, Hankins and Anderson consulting engineer Mike Mullins specified the addition of perforated metal liner for increased sound attenuation.

“We’ve used ToughGard for several years,” said Kyger. “Our workers like using it since it cuts easily and produces less dust during the fabrication process.”

The mechanical room of the Alumni Center has one 37,500-cfm air handler, with air distributed through vav boxes. The College Center has three air handlers, operating at 22,500, 26,200, and 8,200 cfm. Steam for heat is converted to hot water from the university’s central plant. Chilled water used in air conditioning also comes from the central plant.

Jim Young, RBI’s president, noted that the company’s association with JMU goes back a long time, and that other educational clients have included Washington & Lee University, Virginia Military Institute, University of Virginia, Bridgewater College, and Virginia Polytechnical Institute. RBI’s supplier on the JMU jobs was East Coast Metal Distributors, Roanoke, VA.

“We enjoyed the challenge that these interconnecting projects presented us,” Young said. “When everything is completed, James Madison University’s students and alumni will be comfortable in their new buildings, no matter what the weather.”

For more information, contact Jim Young of Riddleberger Bros. Inc. at 540-434-1731; Thor Sigfusson of James Madison University at 540-568-3006; Tom Newton of CertainTeed Corp. at 610-341-7739.

Sidebar: The Key Players On The JMU Projects

Mechanical contractor: Riddleberger Bros. Inc., Mt. Crawford, VA

General contractor: Nielsen Builders, Inc., Harrisonburg, VA

Architect: SmithGroup, Reston, VA

Consulting engineers: College Center Phase I & II —
Hankins and Anderson, Inc., Richmond, VA
Leeolou Alumni Center — R.G. Vanderwell Engineers, Inc., Boston, MA

Hvac distributor: East Coast Metal Distributors, Inc., Roanoke, VA

Hvac insulation manufacturer: CertainTeed Corp., Valley Forge, PA

Sidebar: The Facts: JMU Projects

Hvac systemCollege Center: three air handlers — 22,500, 26,200 and 8,200 cfm
Alumni Center: one air handler — 37,500 cfm
14,000 sq ft of CertainTeed ToughGard duct liner with Enhanced Surface, 1- and 2-in. thick, 3-lb density
Fabrication at RBI’s 31,000-sq-ft shop
Average duct size: 48- by 30-in. rectangular
Labor: Average of 10-15 workers on job daily

Facility information
Alumni Center: 14,000 sq ft
Phase I College Center: 46,200 sq ft
Phase II College Center: 61,000 sq ft

Publication date: 04/15/2002