The day Aaron Fritzke met with the clients who would turn out to be the owners of Greenwood Stables was a good one. He had worked all weekend to design a massive equine project, and he was about to buy a home of his own.
Pleased with his plan, Fritzke figured the clients would look at his design, ask a few questions and take the proposal home for further study.
He said, “I never expected to get the contract that day, but they ended up signing.” And he still made it to his 11 a.m. real estate closing, despite a Minnesota snowstorm.
The whole fortuitous day was a foreshadowing of the high honor the project would win: Greenwood Stables took first place in the National Frame Building Association’s 2009 Buildings of the Year contest in the Horse Barns/Facilities over 10,000 square feet.
Fritzke, territory manager for RAM Buildings in Minnesota, has a solid background in drafting and design, as well as sales experience, and more than eight years with RAM. He really enjoys designing and selling equine facilities.
‘Zonked’ by zoning
Sara Hogan, the female half of the Greenwood Stables partnership, had searched for some time for the right land for the facility where they now board and train horses. They’d purchased land at Medina, Minn., and planned to upgrade and renovate an existing building and add a second building.
“At first, we proceeded with renovation in mind,” said Fritzke, “even though the existing structure was at least 30 years old and in rough shape.”
Then the owners learned that local zoning changes had made it impossible to rebuild close to the property line. They refocused their attention to another part of the property, sending Fritzke back to the drawing board.
“We came up with the design and added some touches” such as a two-story viewing area and lounge, a tack room, cedar trusses and extended overhangs at the building’s gable ends, Fritzke said.
Networking pays off
Fritzke actually laid the groundwork for his collaboration with Hogan and her partner more than a year earlier when he got to know some local realtors. Fritzke says he established a working relationship with the realty staff, educated them about RAM’s equine/agricultural specialties and offered to serve as a resource.
The networking relationship means realtors can call Fritzke when clients need information on whether certain properties are suitable for ag/equine uses, what kind of soils are present and other information on siting.
What Hogan had in mind was a place to board and train horses. She competes in equine hunter and jumper events throughout the Midwest. Greenwood Stables, the eye-catching result, offers a 13-stall barn measuring 72 by 66 feet. It’s connected to a 72- by 184-foot arena.
Details make a difference
Loaded with amenities, the facility offers AJ Manufacturing windows and doors, cupolas from MWI Components and Littfin trusses and columns. Adding environmental comfort are FlyAway automatic retractable screens that “hide” in door headers when not in use and roll down when needed. Snap-latched curtain screens in the arena keep insects under control there, and in-floor heating makes aisles and stall barn areas comfortable for human and equine inhabitants.
For climate control, a self-contained heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system saves energy, recovers and recirculates air, ventilates the barn and exhausts moisture and odors.
The tan and green wall and roof panels from Metal Sales Manufacturing, along with finish options like fake bale doors and wainscot create a head-turning exterior that clearly says “horse.”
While RAM Buildings is as adept at building steel-frame as it is post-frame, Fritzke said the Greenwood owners were “sold” on post-frame’s economy and efficiency, particularly at a time when steel prices were rising rapidly. Fritzke says the owners realized a 10 to 15 percent savings by opting for post-frame. Clearly, Fritzke said, “Wood frame is more cost-effective.”
While there are “surprises” on every project, Fritzke said drainage turned out to be something of an issue. Correcting the problem was accomplished by excavating clay from another part of the property to fill a low area and laying drain tile around the perimeter. A holding pond combined with rain gutters takes care of runoff.
The finished landscaping includes a large manure storage area, all-weather paddocks on one side of the barn and pastures on two sides.
As designer of the project, Fritzke is proud of its first-place honors in the Building of the Year competition, but he doesn’t take all the credit. He says the design was put together well, but it included the owners’ ideas, too. That’s what makes Greenwood Stables unique.
“It’s function plus aesthetics,” he said. “I don’t want to brag, but it’s really neat to see it all come together.”
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Also in this issue of Frame Building News:
More ways to get the job done: New Product profiles
Got good barn stuff? Here’s everything a great barn is made of
The Next Phase of Green Building:
The International Green Construction Code and what it means
Progress takes center stage
Perma-Column, Schweiss, Weyerhaeuser, others in the news
Frame Building Industry News
Companies and organizations in the news