Doors that Brand: The Making of a Winning Entrance

Do you need Doors that Brand your building? Follow the making of a Winning Entrance

In March, we completed our #inoticedoors hashtag photo contest, and we announced the winning photo by Mike of The Lazzaro Companies: an entrance at Peoples Bank in Highland, IN.

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A Winning Design

This entrance is unique, featuring not only curved framing but also curved muntins that complete the circular shape. Where the curved muntins run thru the door– completing the circle design– vertical muntins begin and travel down to the bottom rail. What an intricate design!  Also notable– the vertical framing above the entrance echoes the lines of the inactive middle leaf. These are not your typical bank doors!

Arches with Curved Framing in Production

Little did anyone know, this entrance had caught our eye much earlier on! We had several projects coming through production with beautifully curved framing in December.

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Any project with curved framing results in a show-stopping entrance– but it wasn’t until I saw the drawings that I knew this would be an entrance that brands a building!

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An Entrance that Brands a building– and Endures

Many Peoples Bank locations feature a similar or nearly identical design with a circular shape and arched framing. However, this is the first to feature Special-Lite entrance products. According to Mike Nolan at The Lazzaro Companies, the original drawings called for aluminum-clad residential doors to suit the overall look the designer wanted. However, Mike advised the bank that Special-Lite was the way to go for this opening. Mike had experience using Special-Lite products in the past. He understood that residential doors do not accept commercial hardware well. In addition, residential doors are certainly not as durable as commercial entrance systems. With support from the contractor, Larson-Danielson, Mike worked with the engineering department at Special-Lite to come up with the opening you see in the photo.

Every entrance product at Special-Lite is made-to-order. This enables us to make a one-of-a-kind entrance such as this one, that stands out and communicates your brand. We love helping organizations create an entrance that leaves a lasting impression on all who enter!

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Courthouse Doors will be Trouble-Free Long After John Retires

A few weeks ago, I spoke to Special-Lite Sales Representative Joe Hoffman of D.A. Loss Associates. He excitedly told me that he had just been on-site at a courthouse, where Special-Lite doors had been installed over 30 years ago and still looked great! Joe enthusiastically shared his story:

In 1981 Fond du Lac County built a new courthouse with Special-Lite SL-16 Aluminum Flush doors. Around that time, we [D.A. Loss Associates] started representing Special-Lite. John Nelson started working for the County in 1977, but will be retiring soon. He has come to appreciate the longevity of the doors, “They were installed when the building was built and we have not had any problems.”

John recently asked for help when he needed a new weather brush. He decided to use our SL-301 Adjustable Bottom Brush that Special-Lite invented a few years back, and now these courthouse doors will be better than new. I love my job because I get to work with people like John and see how we have grown to become a part of many communities in Wisconsin. I hope I get to see John before he retires, if not I wish him all the best.

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Joe, John, and the Courthouse Doors

Project Profile: Newark USD Discovered the High Cost of Inexpensive Hollow Metal Doors

newarkisd-01 Many years ago, the Newark, California, public school system in the east bay area near San Francisco was struggling with chronic graffiti problems, high entrance maintenance costs, and frequent door replacements. They were searching for answers when Director of Facilities Larry Mara learned about Special-Lite® FRP Doors at a trade show. Larry thought they looked durable, so he decided to try four pairs on the toughest location in the system — the field-side gymnasium doors on the Junior High. Students were always kicking these doors open which destroyed hollow metal doors in mere months. The district had to paint most of their school doors almost annually, driving up maintenance costs. As Newark USD was getting close to passing a bond issue for renovations and new construction, Larry met with a Special-Lite sales rep. Larry had appreciated the SL-17’s ability to resist vandalism and reduce maintenance costs, so he worked to specify Special-Lite as the district “no-sub” standard exterior door for both replacement and new construction.

Custom Colors Add More Life

newark-inside-frp-doors Like many school systems in California, Newark USD has a district standard color which appears on lockers, chairs, wall panels, and many other furnishings, including interior and exterior doors. Special-Lite painted early Newark orders to match the district’s light blue standard color. When the bond issue passed, and hundreds of Special-Lite Doors were specified, Special-Lite created a custom-matched through-and-through colored FRP in “Newark Blue.” Special-Lite can offer custom FRP colors for orders of 100 doors or more.  

Easy Cleaning FRP

To control their graffiti problem, Newark made it a policy to remove it within 24 hours. Quick removal discourages repeat attacks, and the SpecLite 3® FRP face sheets on the SL-17 made this easy to do without damaging the door finish. As a result, Newark has virtually eliminated its graffiti problem.

Bond Issues Don’t Pay for Maintenance

newark-frp-school-doors In 2003, the “test doors” on the gym were still in service. Larry Mara had retired, and the new Director of Facilities David Goldin was presiding over a major retrofit project involving the installation of more than 600 SL-17 FRP Doors with 10-32 Insert Frames on ten schools in the system. New construction has since pushed the total door count past 700.  Mr. Goldin has moved on to the San Francisco Public Schools, where he has said he plans to continue solving entrance problems with Special-Lite FRP Doors.
“The bond program doesn’t pay for maintenance. We’re building all these new buildings but the bond program doesn’t add one new custodian to the program. This district made a decision to spend more money on certain products, bathroom partitions, Corian bathroom wall panels, FRP doors… things that will minimize the need for more custodians, because the money is not there.” – David Goldin
Even when school systems are successful in passing a bond measure to fund the construction of new schools, it won’t solve the problem of escalating operating and maintenance costs, unless building products and systems are specified that can reduce maintenance requirements while delivering longer service life, to provide the lowest possible lifecycle cost. Newark USD found that for exterior entrances, the right spec is the Special-Lite® SL-17 FRP Door.
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