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Raising the Curtain: The Making of Ironworkers Local 63 Training Center

A Training Facility Designed To Iron Out Labor Shortage

What started as just a pile of dirt and a rendering has now taken shape into a one-of-a-kind, hands-on training center for the local Ironworkers union.  

Engineering News-Record (ENR) recently published an article about the construction of the Ironworkers Local 63 training center in Broadview, Illinois, where Skyline Construction is serving as the general contractor. When complete in early May 2024, the state-of-the-art, ground-up building will serve as an educational facility to teach apprentices the tools of the trade. The space will feature a large, centralized training floor on the ground level with flanking dual mezzanines for meetings, observation and storage. A 20-foot-tall water chamber will allow tradespeople to install and test one of their most significant components – glass curtain wall – and observe how it handles under inclement conditions. 

Affectionately known by members of the project team as “the House of Glass,” the facility truly is a showpiece for the Ironworkers’ craft, as it features two arc-shaped, 50-foot-tall glass curtain walls on the east and west sides of the building.  

The term “curtain wall” refers to the non-load bearing exterior covering of a building, which is designed to protect the interior from various elements. The new building’s curtain wall was constructed using glass, which is a popular design choice by architects due to its pleasing appearance, energy efficiency, and ability to allow an abundance of natural light to penetrate the building’s interior. 

If the undertaking of installing glass curtain wall seems daunting, that’s because it is. The foundation wall is an inch or two bigger than the glass that sits on it,” said Patrick Cronin, the project manager for Skyline. “If this foundation wall isn’t exactly where it needs to be and if there’s any deviation between the concrete and the curtainwall, everything isn’t going to line up.” 

See How the Iron Workers Project Began