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CertainTeed Ceiling Panels Help Solve Acoustical Problems for Airport-Adjacent School


(Valley Forge, Pa.) – Close proximity to an airport made excess noise a constant problem for St. Mary’s Residential Training School, an academy in Alexandria, La., for children and adults with autism. CertainTeed® Tufcore™ceiling panels helped solve that problem with a blend of sound absorbency and containment in a recent government-funded acoustical improvement project at the school.

The Alexandria International Airport acquired a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Noise Abatement grant to retrofit St. Mary’s Residential Training School with building materials that would minimize the impact of air traffic noise and create a quieter learning environment. Since the ceiling is the largest continuous surface in a room, it was important for the project team to select a ceiling panel with exceptional acoustic performance attributes. The project’s architects — Barron, Heinberg & Brocato of Alexandria and The Sun Group, Inc., of Jupiter, Fla. — found exactly what they were looking for in CertainTeed TufCore ceiling panels, recommended by the project’s acoustical engineer, HFP Acoustical Consultants, of Houston.

“The school buildings had lightweight concrete roof decks and metal roofs, and our project’s acoustical consultant wanted to prevent noise from coming through the roof and to reduce ambient noise levels within the building interior,” says Richard Sun, principal of The Sun Group, Inc. “TufCore was selected because of its proven ability to both impede sound transmission from the ceiling cavity and absorb excess noise from the room interior.”

Ceilings contractor True Wall Enterprises LLC, of Marrero, La., installed more than 50,000 square feet of TufCore 2x2 ceiling panels throughout the school in a reveal edge grid and received positive reviews from the school for their work. The combination of the TufCore ceiling panels and the other various acoustical improvements made to St. Mary’s Residential Training School created a more peaceful, effective learning environment, well insulated from the noise of the aircrafts overhead.

“We’ve noticed a tremendous noise reduction since the completion of the project — our buildings are much more soundproofed and quiet now,” says Bobbi Hess, director of development at St. Mary’s Residential Training School. “We have some very large, open areas, such as our gymnasium, and they don’t have as much echo now as they used to. The CertainTeed ceiling panels played a significant role in these improvements, and they also give our ceilings a more attractive, up-to-date appearance. We’re very satisfied customers.”

A composite ceiling panel, TufCore combines high sound absorption and sound containment features, with an outer layer of fiberglass and a gypsum board backing. The panels are especially well suited to minimize sound transmission between adjacent spaces sharing a common plenum. For more information on TufCore ceiling panels, go to