From 09/10/14 – Salem State University (SSU) in Salem, Massachusetts, needed to get its new fitness and recreation center enclosed before the approaching winter began. To maintain the fast track critical path of construction, the facility had to be enclosed within eight to ten weeks. It was also required that the new facility would be state-of-the-art in terms of energy efficiency. To reach those goals, Kingspan KarrierPanel™ Barrier Wall System was specified to construct the exterior envelope of the two-story center, located in the O’Keefe Sports Complex on the university’s campus.

Dedication ceremonies were held on Saturday, November 2, 2013, for the Harold E. and Marilyn J. Gassett Fitness and Recreation Center. The facility, located on the campus of SSU, added 40,000 square feet of space to the O’Keefe Sports Complex, and now provides top tier exercise equipment, locker rooms, studios, and two recreational basketball/volleyball courts for 10,000 students, faculty, and staff.

Salem State University leveraged the performance benefits of the KarrierPanel system.
Salem State University leveraged the performance benefits of the KarrierPanel system. Learn more »

The project architect firm, DiMella Shaffer, of Boston, Massachusetts, took a rather plain structure and, with Kingspan products, made it quite elegant. The architect’s vision included insulated metal panels (IMPs) produced with a textured surface in custom colors developed from the PPG color pallet. Kingspan took those specifications and precisely matched them using Optimo Smooth panels in Sterling Silver with a polyiso core, as well as Urban Gold soffits. Another reason given by DiMella Shaffer for specifying KarrierPanel was how Kingspan excels in having engineers available for support with a quick turnaround on information requests. Kingspan was proactive on questions such as load-span charts, LEED credits, and other project related materials.
Sunrise Erectors, based in Canton, Massachusetts performed the installation of the Kingspan KarrierPanel System. “What that adds to the construction process you can only imagine,” said John Erickson, project manager for Sunrise Erectors. “KarrierPanel provided a waterproof vapor barrier wall structure and insulation in a single-piece application.”
Erickson also pointed out that using other building systems would require paint, sheetrock, metal stud constructions, a separate vapor barrier, insulation, and so much more. “KarrierPanel was a good fit as we didn’t need so many products,” he said.
“By using Kingapan KarrierPanel system, the thermal performance of the Gasset Fitness and Recreation Center is substantially better when compared to other available wall assembly systems. The addition of the Morin panel as the exterior façade provided us with the aesthetic look desired for this project.”

The Beauty Of Kingspan Karrier Components

The primary challenge facing all design teams is to reduce construction time. When a structure needs to become fully operational in a short time period, the team must create a critical path that will quickly enclose the building envelope. When that critical path was discovered through KarrierPanel, the design team had the peace of mind that the construction time constraints would be met.


KarrierRail™, designed by Kingspan, is a stable and secure structural rail upon which multiple types of cladding can be hung. KarrierRail safely transmits positive loads from all façade elements to the structural supports behind the insulated panels. The rail system does not penetrate the air vapor barrier and eliminates energy losses associated with thermal-bridging cavity insulation. The more uniform temperature distribution throughout the wall ensures moisture control.
Work can be achieved quickly and easily, as the KarrierRail is placed during standard panel installation and is secured in a one-step procedure. The standard configuration is 16 gauge Galvalume®, 50 KSI steel, and available in various lengths with a 1-, 2- and 3-inch bearing surface. It is attached using conventional panel fasteners in a one-step procedure. Expansion fasteners, called Fab-Loks, secure the exposed rail edge and ensure that the system safely handles negative loads too. KarrierRail was developed to fully integrate with Kingspan KarrierPanel.


Just as with the Gassett Fitness and Recreation Center, KarrierPanel wall systems are increasingly being specified as an alternative to conventional building enclosure systems. Designers today recognize the value of utilizing the single component construction and immediate enclosure possibilities with the KarrierPanel system. The construction process is eased because a single contractor can provide warrantable enclosure for the entire building envelope.
Speed of build and immediate weathertight enclosure are two more advantages from using the Kingspan KarrierPanel System. It offers unlimited possibilities for rainscreen cladding installed as a screening outboard of the enclosure panel system. By selecting Kingspan KarrierPanel, construction of the building envelope is not impeded by UV degradation, temperature fluctuations, or inclement weather. It is suitable for all building types in any climate and combines the thermal benefits of lightweight insulated metal panels with the aesthetic possibility of multiple façade systems. Once installed, the KarrierPanel System provides excellent energy performance with a high R-value, and superior airtightness with an air, water and vapor barrier. This results in energy cost savings of as much as 30% over traditional multi-part barrier wall.

The Deciding Factors

One final and decisive factor for specifying KarrierPanel by Kingspan for the SSU Gassett Fitness and Recreation Center is that these IMP wall elements last as long as the service life of a standard commercial building and offer multiple end-of-life reuse options.
Kingspan KarrierRail and KarrierPanel are now recognized as one of the best enclosure options available today and in the future will increasingly be specified as cladding on commercial buildings. For more information on the KarrierPanel, visit


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