Butler serves an ace for husband-wife developer team.
Following an afternoon tennis match, Marla Zupancic returned home with an idea. She shared her thoughts with her husband, Jim Zupancic, a Portland-area real estate/business lawyer and developer, and described to him how she played on a poor-quality court that day. Soon, inspiration evolved into a plan to build a tennis-centered health club facility. The Zupancics, both avid tennis players, recognized a shortage of high-quality courts in Portland and set out to fill the void.
As their plan took hold and design concepts were created, the Zupancics concentrated on developing a club where people could gather, socialize and attend wellness-based events. The motivation to achieve these goals led the couple on an extensive tennis center tour, with stops in Australia and across the United States, as they evaluated design features.
One stop included a tour of the National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, home of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships. A Butler building system, the National Tennis Center features multiple metal systems, which encouraged Jim and Marla to focus the design team on metal building materials. "When we saw the USTA Tennis Center in New York, we were inspired," Jim said. "The building design reaffirmed that we were going in the right direction in terms of function and high-end finishes."
Building a championship team
Upon returning to Oregon and securing development approvals on a 16-acre property, which included 10 acres that had to be preserved as wetlands, Jim organized a design team led by architect Ray Yancey and general contracting firm Todd Construction to complete planning for the proposed tennis-centered health club. He also contacted Butler Manufacturing to locate a Butler Builder in the area that could infuse qualities of the USTA Tennis Center into his new project.
Todd Construction President Brent Schafer brought in three design-build companies to provide steel services proposals, including SM Andersen Company Inc., a local contractor and Butler Builder with more than a decade of experience building Butler building systems. Rick Brockway, manager of SM Andersen's metal building division, met with the larger Stafford Hills Club group to give the design team an in-depth explanation of the benefits of Butler building systems.
"We selected SM Andersen Company due to Rick's experience and expertise with metal buildings and Butler," Jim Zupancic said. "Rick knew the Butler product inside and out, which gave us confidence, whereas other builders we spoke with had metal-building experience but gave us concern that our project would be more of an experiment for a less experienced builder."
Achieving a Northwest look
Once the team was in place, Yancey began designing the club with Butler systems in mind. The plan called for creating an architecturally appealing building representative of the Pacific Northwest, but the overall scale of the structure in a residential neighborhood presented a challenge. Yancey had to design the large structure to be attractive and a complement to the natural environment.
The project underwent a series of architectural reviews, and Yancey mixed colors and textures to downplay fears that the building could end up looking like a metal box - a big concern voiced by the City of Tualatin's design review board. The final design incorporated a combination of steel, wood and stone, and it was approved by the city.
The final design plan called for two buildings: one to house the tennis courts and clubhouse, and another that housed offices, meeting rooms, a salon/spa, fitness studios, demonstration kitchen and aquatics locker rooms.
"We faced challenges by designing both a multi-story and a typical single-span, one-story building within a building, but the Butler engineering team put together two packages to ensure it could be done," Yancey said.
A club with a view
The largest building, which houses the tennis courts and clubhouse, required the Widespan structural system by Butler to eliminate obstructions over the tennis courts. In a nod to the USTA building in New York, the Zupancics requested that the design include a second story "skybox" level that would allow spectators to watch matches.
To accommodate that request, Brockway and SM Andersen Company - serving in a single-source management role for all steel and metal structures - called on Butler Heavy Structures to oversee necessary engineering and design changes.
"The Butler Heavy Structures group played an integral role with the heavy loading for the second floor of the building, along with the stairs and exercise room," Schafer said. "It was really helpful as a general contractor to have them come in and handle the process directly."
"Without Butler Heavy Structures, we wouldn't have been able to provide a single source of responsibility," Brockway added.
LEED Silver energy efficient from inside out
The unique building-within-a-building aspect of the clubhouse design was truly remarkable and provided an interesting energy-efficiency benefit. Any excess heat that escapes from the interior clubhouse windows goes directly into the tennis building, creating an efficient heat transfer in which one building actually heats the other. This intentional engineering approach channels heat loss into the tennis building and keeps it remarkably comfortable in the winter.
"We carefully analyzed metal building structures and other energy-efficiency elements of the project to make sure we were building something that would perform well consistently on a long-term basis," Jim said. "The building design maximizes the utilization of the Butler structure in a lot of different ways."
When completed, the buildings earned a coveted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification.
An additional decision to include seven large, 18-foot metal roll-up doors on the perimeter of the tennis courts creates a cooling convection system during the summer months and helps maintain a consistent and comfortable ambient temperature. Beyond that, should a flood occur due to the building's location in a flood plain, the doors can be opened to funnel water outside.
Butler form and function drive total cost of ownership decisions
As owners invested in the long-term success of the health club, the Zupancics were conscious of Butler's reputation for durable, high-performing systems and higher-quality options to reap those long-term benefits. That approach drove product selections, including the visually appealing StylWall flat and fluted wall systems, as well as R-30 over-the-purlin insulation. He also focused heavily on the high-performing, long-lasting MR-24 roof system.
"Jim really liked the MR-24 roof system and particularly the fact that Butler is the only company that completes a true double-lock seam system," Brockway said. "Particularly in the rainy Oregon climate, proper roof sealing is paramount to keeping moisture outside the building."
Factory-applied exterior steel finishes also stood out as an excellent choice for Jim Zupancic, who viewed a factory finish as far superior compared to what can be done on-site.
"Our goal was to create a legacy property, and in order to do so, we needed the quality of the building to match our vision," Zupancic said. "In order for the club to look good and perform well for decades, we were willing to invest in what we felt was the best of all our choices."
Embraced by the community
The completed 95,000-square-foot Stafford Hills Club exudes excellence with its seven indoor tennis courts, three outdoor courts, a resort-style pool, cafe and high-tech gym equipment.
The club has been embraced by community neighbors who were at first skeptical of the project and the potential it had to negatively affect property values. Those neighbors now take the opportunity to participate in group fitness, cooking classes, networking events and other fun activities at the club. In fact, housing prices in the surrounding neighborhood have increased, partly as a result of the community amenities available at family-friendly places like Stafford Hills Club.
"We've received compliments from people within the community and outside Oregon who've come to see what we've built and have heard a lot of gracious compliments for how it looks and performs," Jim said. "We're proud to serve as the uniting hub for our neighbors."