Total Door and Hockaday School: A Perfect Fit

April 5, 2007

When Hockaday School, an all-girls college preparatory academy in Dallas, Texas, began a remodeling project for its Middle and Upper School buildings in 2005, the challenge was to keep the school's open, airy feel in tact, while at the same time not compromising safety. 

The project's architect, David Dumas of Good Fulton and Farrell, was familiar with Total Door of Pontiac, Michigan, a custom door manufacturer, and had worked with the company in the past.

"Total Door's custom manufacturing provides a very clean look, very aesthetically pleasing," Dumas explained.  "Plus, they make the doors with the widest opening, which we needed, for the Hockaday School project."

The Total Door System design integrates all the door's components in its custom manufacturing process.  Each door is pre-built to exact specifications and shipped "ready to hang," without the necessity of installing the locking mechanism and other hardware items on site.  Total Door's patented design process eliminates or integrates much of a traditional door's hardware, creating a cleaner, aesthetically pleasing look. 

This section of the school was built in 1961 and designed with a focus on openness and flow.  The remodeling project, part of an on-going capital campaign, would connect the Fine Arts building and the Administration wing, with a separation between those areas.  The mandate was to maintain that openness, while at the same time provide the necessary fire protection, required by code. 

Mel Bittick, with Modernfold Door and Specialties of D/FW, Inc., the local distributor of Total Doors in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, said the doors ordered by the school were large fire doors, a Total Door "specialty item."

"These were steel doors, custom made with a wood veneer finish," said Bittick.  "These doors have a three-hour fire rating, and if an alarm went off, the magnetic hold opens would release allowing the doors to close automatically."
Not uncommon with projects of this magnitude, the completion dates were set by the general contractor, but the doors had not been ordered.  With six to eight weeks the standard lead-time to manufacture custom made doors, Bittick called Total Door for help. 

"We needed the doors shipped and installed within two to three weeks, or we would not pass the fire inspection and consequently this remodeled section would not open," Bittick explained.  "This had the potential to greatly impact this project and the start of the school year."

Total Door put the Hockaday School order on the fast track. 

"We put their project on our "Quick Ship Program," said Mark Leidlein of Total Door.  "It was summer and we were very busy, yet we were able to fulfill the Hockaday School order and not compromise delivery times for our other customers."

Total Door's "Quick Ship Program" resulted in the doors being delivered a few days ahead of schedule.  However, that's not to say there wasn't a glitch or two along the way.

A latch on one of the doors was damaged during shipping, which, again, put the completion date in jeopardy.  With classes being held in portable buildings, it was critical this remodeled facility open in time for the start of the school year.  Total Door immediately shipped a replacement latch directly to the job site within two days.

"We had the replacement latch, but we were unsure on the proper installation," said Bittick.  "Stan Hubbell, Total Door's service manager, got on his cell phone with us and talked us through the entire process.  Within ten minutes, it was done."

The installation of the Total Doors provided the necessary security and fire safety, along with maintaining the school's architectural design of an open, flowing campus. 

"The doors look great, and are wearing well," said Mark Buschardt, facility manager, Hockaday School. "We have been very pleased with the look of the doors and our overall experience working with Total Door.  Their level of service allowed us to open the remodeled Middle and Upper School buildings on time and provide our students with a great new resource."

Jeffrey Hochstrate, Mid-South Regional Manager of Total Door, says the Hockaday School project exemplifies the superior level of customer service offered by Total Door, and the quality of their custom manufactured doors.

"Every project is a priority with us, and it was imperative Hockaday School receive their doors within two to three weeks.  We delivered on that promise and allowed them to start the school year in this newly remodeled space."

Hochstrate adds, "Just like our custom made doors, it was a perfect fit."

The Total Door system design integrates all door components into one highly reliable system.  From our manufacturing center in Pontiac, Michigan, Total Door provides a single source for custom manufactured doors, with local sales, installation and service provided by a nationwide network of distributors.  Complete, factory assembled door systems eliminate the need to order, coordinate and site-assemble components.  Installation time is greatly reduced and support is provided by factory trained, certified installers.  For more information, call 800-852-6660 or  visit

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