Located just south of Nashville in Middle Tennessee, Williamson County is an upscale, vibrant and growing area known for its high-performing schools. With enrollment soaring in recent years and projected to increase over the next five years, the Williamson County School District was in desperate need of additional facilities to accommodate its burgeoning student population. The district purchased a 100-acre property in the rapidly developing town of Nolensville, where it constructed a $73 million K-12 complex that’s home to three new schools: Mill Creek Elementary, Mill Creek Middle and Nolensville High.


Creating a Prototype for the Next Generation of Active, Engaged Listeners

Designed as a K-8 prototype for Williamson County Schools, the Mill Creek campus is a combined elementary and middle school with a number of shared spaces intended to foster collaboration among students. As the blueprint for future schools in the district, the Mill Creek project presented a unique opportunity to create a model of educational innovation and excellence. Architectural firm Goodwyn Mills Cawood (GMC) embraced the challenge to design an outstanding facility that provided a safe, healthy and engaging learning environment for the Nolensville community.

To help meet the design goals from an acoustic perspective, the architects partnered with CertainTeed Ceilings District Sales Manager Paul Hotovec. Hotovec worked closely with GMC and acoustical contractor Acousti Engineering to win the business and trust of both companies, helping them to specify, purchase and install products that would maximize the facility’s value, performance and visual appeal.

Leveraging the breadth of the CertainTeed Ceilings product line, Hotovec recommended a strategic combination of All-Purpose and High-Performance Acoustic Ceiling Panels that would best meet the varying acoustical needs throughout the educational space. As much as 60 percent of classroom activities revolve around spoken communication and listening, making acoustical performance a top priority Without good acoustics, listening and learning become a challenge, and both teachers and students suffer.

Today’s well-designed classrooms benefit from advanced acoustical solutions that provide better speech perception, greater speaker comfort and less noise, enabling teachers to be heard without raising their voices and students to become active, engaged listeners.


Blending Acoustic and Visual Design in the School of Tomorrow

In order to create a healthy and comfortable learning environment at the Mill Creek campus, GMC requested products that meet LEED for Schools engineering and environmental design criteria, which requires a noise reduction coefficient (NRC) of .70 or higher in order to minimize noise and control reverberation. Balancing acoustic performance with a consistent visual aesthetic was key in meeting GMC’s design goals.

Using CertainTeed’s solutions-oriented product portfolio, Hotovec assisted the team in finding the right acoustic solution for each space, keeping in mind performance and design criteria while staying within budget. From all-purpose acoustic panels to high-performance panels, CertainTeed Ceilings provided GMC with the optimal combination of performance, aesthetics and cost control — without compromising on design:

  • In the classrooms, offices and conference rooms, GMC specified CertainTeed’s Fine Fissured High NRC, a mineral ceiling panel offering high sound absorption and an excellent choice for budgeted projects.
  • For superior sound absorption and acoustic comfort in the media center, cafeteria and open areas, the architects chose CertainTeed’s Symphony® f, featuring a fiberglass substrate that provides an NRC of .95.
  • The auditorium and music room required a solution that would contain sound while decreasing reverberation and echo. A unique composite panel offering optimal acoustic performance, CertainTeed’s Adagio® fit the bill due to its outstanding sound absorption and highly effective sound containment.

Over at Nolensville High School, designed by Johnson and Bailey Architects, Hotovek partnered with KenCo Distributors and their acoustical contractor, The Workman Company. As a result of this team effort, CertainTeed’s Fine Fissured panels were installed throughout most of the high school, while Symphony® f, was the material of choice for the school’s open areas that required a higher level of acoustic performance.


A For Effort - The Power of Collaboration

Hotovec’s close collaboration with the architects, acoustical contractors and distributors helped to make everyone’s job easier while ensuring each project’s success. “Working with CertainTeed was a great experience,” says Brett Haig, Branch Manager for Acousti Engineering in Nashville. “Paul worked with us to get us the solutions we needed, and from there it was a team effort. The ceilings tied in well with the design, and the installation went great. It was a real success.”

One of the largest interior construction companies in the United States with more than 60 years of experience in the building industry, Acousti is known for forging strong relationships with manufactures like CertainTeed. This fruitful partnership has led to three additional school projects for CertainTeed and Acousti using the Mill Creek elementary and middle school design as a model. The CertainTeed-Acousti team also received the specification for a new office headquarters in downtown Nashville.

“It’s really a testament to the power of collaboration,” Hotovec explains. “When you do the right job with the right products and the right relationships, it ultimately leads to success.”