The Assembly Inn at Montreat Conference Center
Montreat, North Carolina, USA

General Contractor and Installer
Davidson Sash and Door
Lexington, North Carolina, USA

350 Medium Stile Standard Entrances

Traco TR-2100 Flush Casement Outswing Windows

Traco TR-2800 Fixed Windows

Traco NX-8910 Architectural Thermal Aluminum Terrace Doors


The Montreat Conference Center enjoys a rich history that dates back to 1897 when a group of church leaders formed the Mountain Retreat Association, later shortened to Montreat. In 1905, the first Presbyterian conference was held at Montreat, and today the conference center is one of three national conference centers affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA. Located 20 miles east of Asheville, North Carolina in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the first structure on the premises was completed in 1922. Today, more than 35,000 visitors are hosted at the conference center each year.

Located at the heart of the Montreat Conference Center overlooking Lake Susan is the historic Assembly Inn, which provides hotel accommodations for up to 200 guests. In the early 1990s, the owners of the conference center began discussing much-needed renovations for the facility, including the Assembly Inn. Davidson Sash and Door first bid the project to replace the windows at the Assembly Inn in 2000. One of the most complex aspects of the project both from an installation and bidding perspective was the vast array of window sizes. The project included more than 600 windows in approximately 25 different sizes. Steve Phillips, contract sales and estimating with Davidson Sash and Door, explained that the facility had needed new windows for many years. However, budget limitations kept the project from moving forward. In 2012, after several years of fundraising, Montreat was ready to move forward with the project and turned to Davidson Sash and Door for their recommendations, which included a range of Traco windows.

A renovation of any type can be challenging, especially when dealing with structures dating back more than 90 years. The Assembly Inn at Montreat, which was constructed with thick, solid stone masonry walls, presented unusual challenges. According to Traco window specialist and sales representative Jim Trippett, “All of the metal flanges on the original windows where fixed into the masonry. The existing windows had to be cut out of the openings before any replacements could be installed.” In addition to the challenge of the metal frames, the windows were also deeply set from both the interior and exterior as a style feature of the original architecture. Stone openings for every window and door also meant a retrofit with no flat or perfectly square surfaces.

Davidson Sash and Door secured all field measurements for the historical building, including multiple radius dimensions, to ensure that the varied window sizes were accommodated correctly.  They then provided design drawings for the project. To meet the vast array of size and aesthetic requirements, combinations of Traco fixed and outswing casement windows, along with radius transom windows, were used to replicate the appearance of the original windows. Phillips remarked, “It’s very rewarding to be involved with field measuring, selecting accessories and trim, AutoCAD detailing, collaborating with Traco window engineering and ultimately having our crews bring the project to life in the field.”

Phillips worked to ensure consistent finishes and trims as specified for the project across all the varied window and door elements were fulfilled, while Trippett coordinated the order and facilitated deliveries. The design flexibility and thermal properties of the TR-2000 series windows made them an excellent choice for the unique retrofit project. To accommodate many different window configurations, TR-2800 Fixed Windows were also specified for the project. The optional curved frame provide an aesthetic match to the original windows, while factory sealing helped to ensure weathertightness, eliminating drafts that conference center visitors often experienced with the original 1920s windows. NX-8910 Architectural Thermal Aluminum Terrace Doors and 350 Medium Stile Standard Entrances completed the project.

Thermal performance was one of the most important features to be considered for the project. The conference center, which originally was not air-conditioned, experienced issues with heat gain in the summer and cold conduction in the winter. Clear SOLARBAN® R100 solar-control low-e insulating glass was specified for all windows and doors. It is a neutral-reflective glass with a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.23 and visible light transmittance (VLT) of 42 percent. The neutral-reflective glass provide exceptional thermal performance and merged beautifully with the neutral exterior of the stone building, blending unobtrusively with the original architecture for high aesthetic value. 

“When we took on the project, we knew it was a huge undertaking,” said Phillips, “but this is what we do. We’ve worked from specification through installation for more than 30 years. Seeing the finished result now is spectacular.”

The project was completed successfully in June 2013. The owners are extremely pleased with the products and the installation. According to the Montreat blog, “Our entire community is responding positively to the beautiful results.” The next phase of the retrofit project is on the drawing board, with plans to use Traco windows as the renovation continues throughout the various facilities.