Elgin Academy

Masonry has always been a building material chosen for its aesthetic appeal and durability. Raw materials and tradesmen are locally available. Design of these structures is relatively simple. In-construction changes can be easily accommodated as a result of smaller modular units. 


PROJECT TITLE: Elgin Acadamy, Elgin, IL

ARCHITECT: DLA Architects Ltd, Elgin, IL

CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: Pepper Construction, Chicago, IL

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Pease/Borst & Associates, Elgin, IL

MASON CONTRACTOR: G Porter & Co, St. Charles, IL


Project Info

The inherent principles of what makes masonry good also lends itself to what has become another way to evaluate a structure…GREEN. This “environmental condition” has evolved beyond recycling paper and plastic bottles. Energy demand and consumption is the main focus of this current movement. Not only can masonry be more cost competitive and have better delivery times than other hard wall systems, it can also fulfill environmental demands of owners and designers for a “Green”or sustainable building. “LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures,” states the USGBC website ( Masonry can contribute up to 32 points of the 69 possible within LEED NC ve   rsion 2.2 for items such as using regional materials, recycled content in building materials, innovative systems or using Masonry for ALL Its Worth, not just its pretty face, maximizing energy efficiency, waste management, resource reuse, easily infilling tight spaces and exceeding LEED requirements.

The Harold D Rider Family Media, Science and Fine Arts Center at Elgin Academy began with communication between the owner, architect, CM and suppliers to determine the best course of action for increasing the building’s energy efficiency, decreasing long-term operating costs and the building’s construction energy demand. All referenced parties benefit from designing and constructing this project with the USGBC LEED program as one of the primary criteria.

A result of unrelated research, SPEC MIX had developed, and was preparing to market, a new product for thermal insulation and sound isolation of CMU walls. Traditionally, standard grout, loose fill vermiculite, spray-on or pour-in foam had been used. This new, loose core fill product is a dried, expanded 100% post-industrial waste material. Already commonly used in other construction materials, it was an excellent candidate for Elgin’s CMU sound walls, rather than petroleum based materials or material shipped from out-of-state. This product comes from within 50 miles of Chicago, is lightweight, using little fuel to obtain and deliver and would otherwise go to a landfill. The sound attenuating aggregate is a specifically graded, loose core fill material to reduce sound penetration through a CMU wall. The architect and owner liked the idea of including a reused 100% lightweight, post-industrial, local material in their building. It was the project’s only 100% recycled product!

In addition to the 100% recycled sound attenuating aggregate placed in block cores, each SPEC MIX bulk bag contained 23 lbs of post industrial recycled material and 100% of the aggregate was extracted and manufactured locally and 100% of the raw materials were extracted within 500 miles.

Let’s Build Something

SPEC MIX is ready to assist you in getting the right product for any job. Reach out to one of our qualified representatives to get started.