Von Duprin Concealed Vertical Cable Exit Devices Fill Church's Tall Order

When St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Frisco, Texas, needed a way to secure pairs of 14-foot tall bronze doors in its new church, it found the answer in exit devices with the Von Duprin Concealed Vertical Cable (CVC) system from Allegion.

The doors were part of a major project that included a new 1,650-seat church with a design inspired by its namesake in Italy, as well as a 350-seat chapel dedicated to St. Clare, a follower of St. Francis. Previously, the church was meeting in its parish center, a multi-purpose building that held as many as 923 people. Both new buildings were dedicated in December, 2013.

When the church decided to expand and build the new structures, it created a building committee to plan and oversee the project. Kevin Bird, a member of the parish with a background in commercial development, was hired as the owner's representative to manage development and construction.

The church and chapel entries both feature special pairs of doors. Bird says the doors are constructed of bronze panels engraved with patterns reflecting St. Francis's love of nature. One pattern is "The Rain," while the other also symbolizes themes of the earth. According to Bird, the size of the doors presented a challenge to Forms + Surfaces, the architectural products company that produced the panels.

"They said they never had engraved anything that large," Bird explained, "so we had to encourage them to push the envelope. I wouldn't take 'no' for an answer."

The church doors each measure 4 x 14 feet, while the chapel doors measure 3 x 10 feet. While building codes required exit devices for safe egress, considerations such as security, aesthetics and accessibility dictated the use of a concealed system rather than mullions with rim devices. Bird explains, "We needed a full-width opening to allow us to bring caskets through the doors for funerals." However, the extra door height required the use of rod extensions and would have complicated installation, adjustment and maintenance.

Unlike vertical rods, the CVC system selected for the doors uses a flexible, enclosed cable system that installs as an assembly. Its ease of adjustment simplifies installation and the top and bottom latches operate independently to ensure secure latching. After installation, the bottom latch can be adjusted while the door is hanging. The system uses stainless steel cables with a Teflon liner to prevent corrosion and increase the strength of the system.

Other hardware solutions used in the new church include CO-Series standalone electronic locks by Schlage, which provide the security, efficiency and convenience of electronic locks without the cost or complexity of a fully networked system. These locks provide added security for areas such as the sacristies, choir room and counting room. They allow entrance with a PIN code that provides access control without requiring a key or with an override key by authorized staff members if necessary.

To control inner doors and ensure that they close and latch securely, they are equipped with LCN 4000 Series surface mounted closers. Von Duprin 99 Series exit devices are also used throughout to provide security while allowing safe egress. In addition, restrooms in both buildings are equipped with Glynn-Johnson HL6 Push/Pull latches to provide easy access.

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church began as a mission church in 1966 and was designated a parish in 1998. On Christmas Eve, 2001, it moved to a new 40,000 sq. ft. multi-purpose building at its present location, where Masses were held until construction of the new church and chapel.

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