Security Ceilings – Ouachita River Correctional Unit, Malvern, AR
Image by Gordon Inc
Gordon Corrections Division, a division of Gordon, Inc., is the leader in the design and manufacture of Detention Ceiling Systems. Gordon’s, Lockdown® and Cel•Line® ceiling systems, provide Security Ceilings and Security Planks that are well known throughout the Corrections / Security industry for their performance, quality, and ease of installation. Gordon also provides accessory components to complement the system.
Gordon’s Security Ceilings and Security Planks have been installed in US Courthouses, Federal Prison, State Prison, and County Jails throughout the United States.
Below is the first in a short series of how the use of metal security ceilings and metal security planks has evolved with the advance technologies in the construction industry, and what the detention facility architect needs to consider when specifying acoustical metal ceiling systems.
One can safely assume that the original and longest standing security ceiling systems were constructed of stone, later evolving to mortared stone, and then to concrete. This was a perfectly suitable finish for facilities that did not have the complex building systems and the significant management challenges of today’s corrections environment. Today’s criminal justice architects must address the routing and delivery of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and security systems beyond the reach of the inmate while, conversely, meeting a stringent budget requiring minimum building height and floor to floor spacing. Furthermore, the direct supervision management method has delivered the new challenge of providing a secure and controllable dayroom space where the officers can clearly communicate with the inmates and, most importantly, among each other.
The first evolution in correctional ceilings was the use of security plaster. While security plaster ceilings effectively enclosed building systems from inmate access, they equally inhibited maintenance access. Although clearly a high quality finish, plaster’s cost, schedule impact, inaccessibility, and lack of acoustical control forced corrections architects to seek alternatives – the first of which was gypsum wallboard systems. These multi-layered systems were often interwoven with plywood or wire mesh. While more cost effective than plaster, gypsum board systems did not significantly improve schedule due to their progressive method of construction, inaccessibility, and their need for field taping, and painting. Acoustics could be addressed through the adhesive application of mineral fiber ceiling tile, but this was not a durable finish within inmate reach.
The advent of steel security acoustical ceiling systems and the subsequent development of multiple gauges and configurations of these systems has provided today’s criminal justice architect with new options in security ceiling treatments. These systems address the need of today’s corrections facility in terms of security, building system integration, acoustical metal security ceilings, controlled access, cost, and schedule.
Interesting parallels exist between the evolution of detention & security ceilings and the evolution of commercial ceilings. For the same reasons, architects in both markets evolved their ceiling system design from stone or wood to plaster, then gypsum wallboard, and finally to today’s modern acoustical ceiling systems.
Please let us know what information you would like answered regarding the use of acoustical metal security systems in Courthouses, Prisons, Jails, and other detention applications.
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